by Catherine Mann

June 2002
ISBN: 0-373-27228-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #1158
Mass Market Paperback

What would be the most glorious feeling for an avid romance reader? For me, it's discovering a new author, a new book - a book that leaves a lasting impression in my heart and soul. Does this sound too grand to you? Well, it is what happened with Catherine Mann's Wedding At White Sands. The story of a vivacious private investigator, a former Air Force Officer of Special Investigations, a case of money laundering, a fake marriage, a wedding night turning into a life-or-death struggle and a sexual attraction scorching the paper it's written on. All that and so much more make this stunning debut an intense, enthralling, captivating, fall-in-love-with must read of a romance novel!

Allie St. James, a private investigator known for her success in hunting down dads on the run and her compassion for the victims, finds herself hired by a six year old to save his father from certain danger. Turns out the father is one sexy Jake Larson - and hiding in his suit are the scars of an accident that cost him his dearly beloved wife and his much missed career as an Air Force Special Investigator. Being a doting parent with a sexy body to boot, it's no wonder that - overprotected that she might be by her loving stepbrothers and even wearier of rich, good-looking guys like her real dad - Allie can't resist following Jake to the White Sands resort.

Jake, hired by the state police to investigate the owner, and Allie, hired by the owner's ex-wife, find themselves in close proximity brought about by the very impulsive Allie. They are forced to act the newlywed and a very much in love couple - a story element that I CAN'T resist! So it's not surprising that they can't resist the temptation, the attraction that surges between them - especially fueled by the seductive location of white beaches, palm trees, a complimentary honeymoon suite and an ever-present atmosphere of danger.

Allie is strong, active, always on the move. Perfectly in accord with her bouncing curls and her off-key tunes, she is NOT what Jake had in mind for himself! And even though one might be tempted to dislike Allie for her impulsive nature (not me of course - I found it refreshing and exciting!), one can't - positively canít Ė as she is a compassionate and loving person. After-all, how many grown-ups are there who would take time off to follow up a six years old stranger's claim? I not just liked Allie, but came to admire her too. Half way through the story it was clear to me that her and Jake not only belong to each other, but are well deserving of that love, that passion. Allie is outrageous, vivacious, intoxicating and lots of fun. And who wouldn't want to be her with a hunk like Jake by her side? Scarred in body and mind, but not broken, he is battling his doubts and trying hard to redeem himself in his own eyes but more importantly, in his son's. Wedding At White Sands takes the reader on an intense emotional journey where the characters not only find love, but have that love deeply alter their lives. Nail-biting suspense and rollercoaster excitement mixed in make it an impossible story to put down.

Catherine Mann is a great storyteller - Wedding At White Sands caters to all my demands of not just a good story, but an extraordinary one! With its smooth style, breezy pace, very well drawn characters ready to leap off the pages, natural dialogue, a not expected but very fitting sense of humor and a sizzling sexual attraction, this book promises many a sleepless hour. One thing is for sure, Catherine Mann is a hot contender giving the likes of Suzanne Brockmann, Merline Lovelace and Candace Irvin a run for their money. Even more so with her military series coming up later in the year!

Reviewed in April 2002 by Kris Alice.

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