Gabriel’s third romantic suspenser (The Mask of Time, 1994, etc.) is a taut—and tense’story of a woman who must choose between a man she loves and a long-lost daughter, a choice complicated by the fact that either one of them may be a murderer. While recuperating from a mountain-climbing accident in Nepal, Dr. Rebecca Carey chances upon a small newspaper item that sends her flying across the world in an effort to help the child she gave up for adoption 13 years earlier. The girl, Therese Florio, is suspected of having set the fire that killed her adoptive mother, the pill-popping, child-abusing, and foul-mouthed Barbara. Her adoptive father, Michael, swiftly spirited her and her older, also adopted sister Devon to a secret hideout in Umbria. Rebecca follows, and, once there, tricks Michael into giving her the job of caring for his two daughters. Both Therese and Devon warm to her, and even the magnetically handsome, dangerous Michael is seduced by her beauty, intelligence, and strength. Nor is Rebecca immune to Michael’s charismatic aura: The sexual tension between the two crackles and pops as Rebecca tries vainly to resist her employer’s advances. But her main concern is still Therese, a bright but seriously troubled girl prone to hysterical fits and occasional bouts of pyromania. Did Therese kill Barbara? The police certainly think so, and even Rebecca isn—t sure. But more important than questions of innocence and guilt is Rebecca’s fierce attachment to her disturbed child and her ferocious desire to keep Therese with her—whatever the cost. And when Rebecca comes to suspect incest as well as murder in the Florio household, she and Therese head for Mexico in a frantic, imperiled flight. Well-written and perfectly paced: a sexy, gripping thriller that doesn’t miss a beat.