Wronged wife vs. beautiful mistress. And the winner is . . . .
Carolina Mountcastle designs fantasies in flowers for New York’s super-rich, has a devoted clientele, a nice teenaged son, and darling Lyon, her studly, muscular, and very successful husband. Her claim to fame: replicating the lavish floral arrangements in Dutch Old Master paintings, a skill that keeps the nouveaux riche coming back for more. When a new client specifies blood-red roses to match the dripping gore in a Caravaggio painting of a beheading, Carolina is on it—with help from her muscular assistant Antonio, who really knows his stuff even if he spends too much time on the phone with various girlfriends. But a rival designer, pouty Payton Fitzsimmons, schemes to seduce Antonio so she can steal Carolina’s ideas and sabotage her fabulous creations. Now that Lyon is abroad on business, Carolina will have to figure out for herself why everything’s going wrong. Then—oh, no!—a call from the Amsterdam police shatters her world. Lyon is dead of a heart attack. The family gathers for the reading of his will, and Carolina is aghast to hear that Lyon has divided his fortune neatly between her and beautiful, blond Monique, the Amsterdam mistress she never knew he was keeping—and with whom, it turns out, he had daughter. Sunk in despair, Carolina vows to challenge the will and cut out this pretender, but her nice son intervenes: Apparently he’s always wanted a little sister, and he’s eager to meet Anja and her mother. Carolina kicks up a fuss but eventually goes along with him and meets the other woman. The tale quickly reaches its happy ending in a cathartic snifflefest for Lyon’s two loves; Payton’s mischief is revealed, Carolina is hailed as the next Martha Stewart—and a new love awaits her.
More polished than this popular author’s usual (A Moment in Time, 2001, etc.), but still with plenty of sweaty sex for the fans.