by Dianna Palmer, Linda Howard and Sharon Sala

August 2001 Reissue
ISBN: 0-373-48449-6
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Mass Market Paperback

What's a girl to do when she's in love with her boss who has a major babe for a girlfriend? For Kenna Dean there are few options! Just try some different clothes and yearn! Fortunately, the boss has a brother who has his own agenda concerning major babes. Regan Cole doesn't like the thought of his younger brother Denny getting hooked up with a money-hungry little opportunist any more than Kenna does, but calculating and practical Regan decides to do something about it. That something is to take Kenna and turn her into a Diamond Girl by dressing her properly, getting her hair done, and then pretending to be interested in her. Regan is relying upon sibling rivalry to trip Denny and lead him straight to Kenna and away from Miss Gorgeous! No prizes here for guessing what happens next, the rewards of reading about how Regan slips into his own trap are delicious enough! Diana Palmer has scripted a wonderful romance here - we're rooting for Kenna all the way and Denny, although a great character, doesn't stand a chance next to Regan! The feeling of surprise that steals over both Kenna and Regan as they realize where they're headed is extremely well expressed - we can feel the stuttering astonishment that catches both the lovers unaware! There are several bumps in the rocky road of this romance, but rest assured, Ms. Palmer likes these two as much as we do and wants them to be happy!

Reporter Sallie Jerome has a major problem in An Independent Wife. No one at her paper knows she is still married to high-powered superstar reporter Rhydon Baines, and not even Rhy knows where she is or what she's doing. That is until he purchases Sallie's newspaper and becomes her boss! Linda Howard cleverly blends Rhy and Sallie's history into this tale so that we understand both of them much more clearly as the story progresses. Rhy's need for the thrill and adventure of reporting took its toll on their marriage, leaving Sallie at home and lost without him. Sallie's transformation into self-assured, hot-dog reporter becomes very understandable and their roles are neatly reversed when Rhy assumes ownership of the paper, ready to settle down. Of course, the passion between Rhy and Sallie has never really died, and before too long they realize that fact! The twists and turns and double-loops that these two lovers take before they can work out a satisfactory solution for themselves makes for wonderfully entertaining reading. Linda Howard hasn't disappointed us yet!

The final story in this anthology, Annie and the Outlaw, is a delightful treat. Sharon Sala asks us to believe that miracles can happen and people can become what they are truly meant to be even if it takes a couple of hundred years. Annie is a teacher in an inner city school - she needs more protection from some of her hostile students than the school principal is willing to give. The outlaw is Gabriel Donner, big and mysterious, dressed in black leather and riding a large motorbike. He comes to Annie's rescue and then, amazed at her acceptance of him, becomes her bodyguard. Gabriel's complex feelings about Annie deepen rapidly, and he fears that he may be falling in love with her. Annie, possessing a major secret of her own, fights bravely against her own feelings for Gabe, knowing he'll be leaving her before too long. The passions develop between these two, gently and quietly - very much a natural progression of their relationship. I will not spoil the story by going any further than this - just to say it's a long time since a tale has made me laugh and cry at the same time. Congratulations, Ms. Sala - you pulled all the right strings and pushed all the right buttons to produce a wonderful tale of love and redemption; a great finale to a lovely anthology.

Reviewed in August 2001 by Celia.