|Dar Tomlinson: Designer Passion|
Press (paperback); ISBN 1885478798
Like oil and water, Chess and Holly prove highly combustible. Holly operates from a basis of trust and empathy. Chess considers both as charmingly impractical as her attempts to reassert control of their partnership. Supremely confident in his expertise, Chess makes all the right moves to reposition Holly's company, unaware that the international money market and a well-hidden traitor threaten his personal Camelot.
Meanwhile, Holly faces her own battles. Jules Efron, Holly's much older husband, whose disappearance seven years ago precipitated her company's credit problems, conveniently reappears after Chess's intervention makes business news. Now Efron wants a piece of Holly's profits and whatever else he can grab.
Ski togs and trademark zipper pulls may seem like the world's least likely subjects of passion and nail-biting suspense, but Designer Passion vibrates with every kind of tension known to good storytelling. Physical and emotional opposites Chess and Holly generate enough steam to power the freight train that wails across Chess's property every night. Tomlinson unflinchingly presents her characters' flaws and complexity, their insight and confusion, and in the process creates a hero and heroine so human, you adopt their struggles as your own.
Corporate sabotage never hit so close to home as it does when it strikes Holly Harper. Indian heritage assumes new meaning as Chess strives to adapt the lessons of his Choctaw grandmother to the high stakes poker game of international finance. The reader shares Chess's exhilaration and his terror, and learns with him that trying to do your duty by your natural and adopted family doesn't always mean you'll succeed.
But it is the nature of white knights and princesses to keep trying. That's why their stories seldom fail to satisfy -- especially when a writer as skilled as Tomlinson tells them so well.
Jean Marie Ward
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