by Carla Neggers

August 2002
ISBN: 1-55166-923-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Criminal Lawyer, Kara Galway, moves back to Texas from Connecticut after a long time. She moves back to be near her Texas Ranger brother, Jack and his wife Susanna and their twin daughters and is determined to be the same successful attorney in Texas as she was in Connecticut. But one fateful day, all this changes suddenly, unexpectedly and horrifically.

It all begins with the drowning of Kara’s good friend and mentor, the Connecticut Governor, Big Mike Parisi. But his death is not what it seems to be – an unfortunate but accidental drowning. Then Allyson Stockwell, the lieutenant governor steps into his shoes to take up the reins of being governor. She, too, is a very good friend of Kara’s and in the chaotic aftermath of Mike’s death, she sends her two children to a dude ranch in Texas, to be near their Aunt Kara and to recover from the loss of Mike whom they all loved very much. Then one day, the children run away from the ranch and arrive on Kara’s doorstep in the middle of the night. They are scared out of their wits and all Kara can get out of them is that it has to do something with the children's mother becoming the new governor. On the children’s trail is Texas Ranger Sam Temple, with whom Kara has had a one-night stand with and believes herself to be pregnant with his baby! Sam, on the other hand, has no intention of letting either Kara or her brother and his boss, Jack, come in between his pursuit of her or the runaways.

Bound by the attorney-client privilege, Kara is forced to flee with the children back to Connecticut, with Sam Temple just one step behind them all the way. There, she and children make their way to Stonebrook Cottage, Allyson Stockwell’s home. What are the children hiding? Are they really in danger or is it all some elaborate hoax? What is the secret that Allyson is so deathly afraid of revealing? Kara has to figure all this out even as Sam knocks on the door of Stonebrook cottage.

Stonebrook Cottage is the first book of Carla Neggers' which I’ve ever read and from now on, her books are going to become a permanent feature on my TBR list. This book is one of the best suspense books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Unlike the traditional suspense, the readers are spared the ultra-gruesome details and more emphasis is placed on what the characters are feeling and how and why they act as they do. But the pace never slows down and the suspense is always there, lurking in the background. The vague sense of menace overshadows everything, even as Sam and Kara try to sort out their true feelings as passion overcomes them. Readers who love their suspense pulse pounding and the sex hot enough to melt steel, along with strong and well-depicted characters are going to have themselves a ball with this one. Simply breathtaking!!

Reviewed in July 2002 by Rashmi.

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