A battered woman begins a new life—until her psychopathic husband catches up with her.
Helen Ward flees in terror after her husband Daniel beats her savagely—and drop-kicks her little dog Lucie into the Christmas tree. A kindly stranger delivers her and the unconscious Lucie to Gerry Davis, an elderly vet and animal rescuer, and his lifelong sidekick, the frail but spunky Isabel Tyger, heiress to the Tyger Toys fortune and zillionaire philanthropist. Abused as a child by her vicious father, who once drowned her pet dog and its nine puppies, Isabel runs a network of shelters for women, often helping them to assume new identities and disappear. Friendless and essentially without family, Helen decides to do just that. Once trained in self-defense and computer skills, she becomes Nancy Baker and resettles in suburban New Jersey (with Lucie), where she starts a naughty-lingerie business over the Internet. Her sexy new neighbor, Sam Tolliver, is a professor of accounting (and a real dreamboat). Her dog loves his dog, and his dog loves hers—so it’s, well, like fate. But nasty Daniel tracks her down when Isabel’s naive nurse is hoodwinked into giving him Helen’s e-mails to Isabel, and he figures out her new identity. Before she can warn Helen, Isabel dies unexpectedly while visiting the gravesite of her own long-gone dog, summoned to heaven by a bark from above. The beleaguered Helen must fight Daniel practically to the death, explain everything to the understandably confused Sam, run her new business, figure out what to do with the millions of dollars she’s about to inherit from Isabel, and—what else? Oh, yes, pick up dog food on the way home.
The hugely popular Michaels (Picture Perfect, p. 1084, etc.) cranks up the soap-making machinery, but her direct style and breakneck pace keeps it humming. Improbable melodrama, mostly for the fans.