I Promise

Man of the House

Say You Love Me
by Adrianne Byrd
(Arabesque/BET, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-58314-71-9
Twins Jordan and Malcolm Williams were introduced in I Promise, Adrianne Byrdís third novel. It is a wonderful story about friendship, family love and loyalty that earned Byrd a spot on my Emerging Authors List.

Say You Love Me is the sequel to I Promise. Although the author provides some information about the characters' histories through flashbacks, I strongly suggest that these novels be read in order. And, as a result, this review is purposely vague on details that would spoil enjoyment of both romances.

Say You Love Me begins fifteen years after the close of I Promise. Jordan Williams and Christian McKinley are husband and wife, but he is married to his software company, J.W. Enterprises. In the years that have passed, he is estranged from his father who has never forgiven him for abandoning Opulence, the family jewelry business," to play with computers." After Jordan disregards their fifteenth anniversary, one of several he has forgotten, Christian leaves him.

Jordanís twin brother Malcolm is a reformed womanizer who has done no better than his brother in the relationship department. Malcolm has successfully stepped into the vacuum created by Jordanís abdication as Opulenceís heir apparent. He still regrets the big misunderstanding that led to his break up with Christianís best friend, model Alexandra Cheney.

Adrianne Byrd has crafted a worthy successor to I Promise. It is a story of reconciliation and second chances that deftly ties up most of the earlier novel's loose ends. We know these characters and they behave as we would expect. They, and the secondary characters, have made the transition between books quite well.

Most romance novels focus on the heroine. I tend to regard I Promise, and Say You Love Me, as the Williams brothers' stories. It's not necessarily that the novels are written from the male point of view, or that the heroines are weak characters. I suppose my reaction probably focuses on the heroes as twin brothers.

Say You Love Me is part of a disconcerting trend I have noticed during the latter part of this year. Donna Hill, Cheryl Faye and Adrianne Byrd have elected to uncouple their characters in sequels written after particularly hard fought HEAs. I like to know what happened to many of the couples I've read about. But in these novels the reader is put in the uncomfortable position of taking sides as we (and their partners) become more aware of their partners' shortcomings. It's a trend and a slice of social reality I'm somewhat leery of.

The Romance Reader has reviewed: "One in a Million" in Man of the House, Arabesque's 1998 Father's Day anthology I Promise

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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