Shattered Illusions
by Candice Poarch, contemporary (2000)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-122-7

When I first read Shattered Illusions, I cringe, fearing I'm going to get another one of those he-suspects-her-lies-to-her-and-sleeps-with-her-while-thinking-she's-evil story. Thankfully, Delcia Adams and Carter Matthews display instead nice chemistry and they handle their developing relationship with brains as much as their hormones.

Delcia is a widow who bore the illegitimate daughter of Carter's foster brother David. David Washington smudged quite a few truths that made Delcia wary of attractive passing strangers to her Coree Island campsite. However, Carter Matthews is just that, an attractive passing stranger. He is "just a tourist" at first glance, but in truth he is here to discover what happened before David died in Coree Island. And egad, here he is, attracted to his prime suspect.

Carter fast realizes that his foster brother may not be the saint he believes, and he soon teams up with Delcia in bed as well as in sleuth. Now all they have to do before they get to the happily-ever-after to solve a murder and have Delcia make up with her stupid daddy. Easy.

Although a bit short in length (256 pages, large font), SI is a pleasant read. Carter and Delcia are intelligent characters to root for, and the suspense is light without overpowering the story. That daughter doesn't irritate me as much as some brats would either. At the end of the day, while it isn't earthshatteringly emotional or poignant, Shattered Illusions will do just fine as an evening's entertaining read.

Rating: 86

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