A veteran paperback author returns with another earnest romance (I Know Who Tomorrow Holds<\I>, not reviewed; co-contributor, Winter Nights<\I>, 1998).
Kristen Wakefield is looking for love but not finding it, just like so many other well-educated, well-dressed, well-heeled black women in New Orleans. But she does have a fascinating career as a museum curator and a personal wardrobe that includes every expensive label known to womankind. The crystal chandeliers gleam and all the upholstery is silk in the circles she moves in, every step muffled by thick carpets, every object in sight indicating bogus sophistication (“You’ve been to Paris, of course,” says Maurice, her friend Claudette’s creepy husband, proffering a glass of Dom Perignon. “Several times,” Kristen replies, wishing he would stop touching her). If only Claudette would return and keep Maurice in line, they could get back to talking about the fabulous collection of contemporary African-American art that Kristen wants to borrow for a show at the Haywood Museum. Oh, no! Breathing heavily, Maurice comes closer . . .and closer still. It’s time to call for help. Enter our hero: brawny Rafe Crawford, who shoulders his way into the scene and punches the troublesome lecher in the nose. Rafe is a Real Man, a self-taught furniture maker determined to escape his family history of violence and abuse. But the villainous Maurice is furious that his evil designs on Kristen’s virtue have been thwarted—and later claims that she tried to seduce him and then persuaded her brutish friend to attack. Claudette will never lend the artwork now, Kristen knows—and what will her beloved mother and distinguished stepfather think? Bravely, she soldiers on, though her false friends have become her open enemies. Forced to resign, she finds that no other museum or arts organization will hire her. And how can she dare to have feelings for Rafe, when her love for him only brings him pain?
Well-meaning soap, riddled with clichés.