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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Key To All That Glitters by Kathleen Rowland

A Key To All That Glitters by Kathleen Rowland
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (327 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Balancing her thriving yoga spa and raising twins, Widow Heatherlee Baronova is slammed by her late husband’s past when an ex-con demands a key to a safe deposit box. Na├»ve, Heatherlee knows nothing about it. When her spa Clearwater is robbed, the police investigation is headed by Sheriff Marc Duarte, a sheep rancher from the silkiest gentry of town. The last thing she wants is for Marc to prove that dirty money built Clearwater.

Marc knows her problems with a Russian theft ring will escalate beyond bad press and the bottom line. After the twins are kidnapped, she starts listening. Shrewd, rugged, and rich, Marc is clueless that this coppery-haired bundle of determination and desire married her husband because he looked like him. He does see a practical advantage, but if he goes undercover as “out of hiding” Yuri Baronov, will it be a death sentence?

Mature characters, Heatherlee Baronova and Marc Duarte, with more than their share of baggage, along with a diverse group of secondary characters, come together making A Key To All That Glitters a mesmerizing story that vibrates with love and suspense.

Heatherlee, a survivor and nurturer, gives much to the people she loves and to her community. Smart and goal-oriented, she prioritizes with her preschool-age twins first on the list. Having made peace with who she is after a degrading and deprived childhood, she copes well after the death of her husband. When her upscale Clearwater Spa is robbed, she handles the terrifying experience with courage.

When Marc Duarte, the man she’s loved since high school, comes to investigate the robbery, Heatherlee reminds herself she is now a successful businesswoman with children, not a shy teenager. Marc, long divorced from the woman he married to please his Basque family, finds himself enthralled with the striking, confident woman Heatherlee has become.

Kathleen Rowland’s sophisticated settings in California and Chicago are perfect for the multicultural characters that must deal with intrigues that range from international jewel thievery to social snobbery. Bridging the gap between five-generation Basque sheep-ranching families and a drug-addict’s daughter that once lived in a bus and made her way by selling cans to feed herself and her brother seems an insurmountable task—even if she is a respected entrepreneur with money.

While there are obstacles, the toe-curling, breathtaking love scenes heat up the pages at times eclipsing all else. However, the heartwarming happenings with the twins leave a special feeling of rightness with the world. These two little charmers wiggle their way right into the heart.

Kathleen Rowland creates an edgy story with crime, with a touch of paranoia (not always unjustified), and adds a heaping helping of love.

A Key To All That Glitters is a gem for one’s library.

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