A couple’s relationship becomes tested by secrets and lies from the past in this debut novel.
Raymond Welles and Carinda Dowry approach their first date with a sense of nervous anticipation. Both are divorced and wary of the singles’ scene. Ray’s marriage to Kimberly was marked by bitter arguments and power struggles over their daughters. Carinda survived a traumatic childhood and abusive first marriage. She later built a successful career in real estate and wed a developer named Mitchell Dowry; however, that union ended after he went to jail for bank fraud. Seeking a fresh start, she moved to Boca Raton, Florida, where she met Ray through an online dating service. Their connection is intense, and both believe they have found a fulfilling relationship. Despite their bliss, they soon find themselves trapped by their pasts. Ray is coping with the lingering effects of a brain tumor and battling Kimberly over visitation rights. He also discovers that Carinda may be dealing with an addiction to prescription medication. Desperate to get his family back on track, Ray sells his business and moves with Carinda to Milwaukee, where he discovers that what he does not know about his lover could put him in jeopardy. Gilbert’s book is a fast-paced erotic thriller with strong characters and an inventive narrative structure. The author has crafted a pair of distinctive protagonists in Ray and Carinda. Ray is an honorable man who believes he has found a second chance at happiness and passion with Carinda. While his life takes some unpredictable turns, the tale grounds Ray with the realistic details of his illness and struggles with his daughters and former wife. Carinda is worldly and street-wise, if rough-hewn (“Before Ray, I was running through men like shit through a goose”). Ray and Carinda’s scenes sizzle with palpable chemistry and tension. The story is told in a panoply of voices, including Carinda’s, Ray’s, his daughters’, and Kimberly’s. The multiplicity of perspectives enhances the narrative and allows Gilbert to achieve a deeper level of character development.
A racy guilty pleasure that should appeal to fans of Jackie Collins and Stuart Woods.