No Committment Required

No Apologies by Seressia Glass
(Genesis/Indigo, $8.95, PG-13) ISBN 1-58571-066-0
No Apologies is the second romance by Seressia Glass. It is the story of Angela Davenport and Jeff Maxwell, secondary characters in Glass' debut novel No Commitment Required. I strongly recommend reading the first novel before No Apologies to get a sense of the ensemble cast of characters and the evolution of Jeff and Angela's relationship.

Jeff Maxwell has returned to Atlanta after taking a year off to work in Europe and to get his personal life back on track. While Jeff has been successful in the world of finance, he has made a mess of his relationships. He is back to make amends to those he has hurt.

Angela's life has changed considerably since her break-up with Jeff. She still loves Jeff, but her priorities have been forced to change. Angela now has custody of her four-month old cousin, Kayleigh, whose mother died in childbirth. She has weathered the loss of a relative who was like a sister to her. She has also endured the threat of a custody battle over Kayleigh from a mother who is like a stranger to her. Only legal guardianship papers drawn up by her cousin before Kayleigh's birth and her father's intervention prevented a showdown between the Davenport women in court. Angela has rearranged her life to accommodate Kayleigh's needs. Her residence, work schedule and world view have all changed.

Jeff could not have shown up on Angela's doorstep at a worse time. He has come back to beg for Angela's forgiveness when he overhears Kayleigh on the intercom. The finance guy does the math and assumes the infant is his daughter. In a very poignant scene, he introduces himself to Kayleigh as her father. The marriage proposal Angela craved two years ago is finally hers for all the wrong reasons. It takes a while, but Angela finally convinces Jeff that they are not Kayleigh's parents. The first of many apologies in this 300- page novel is uttered. But from that point on, Jeff is more determined than ever to regain Angela's love and trust.

Seressia Glass' second novel is a worthy successor to No Commitment Required. Her debut earned her a spot on my Emerging Authors List.

The development of plot and of the relationship between the hero and heroine are effective, but the strength of the author's work continues to be her characterization. Glass has created a formidable cast of ensemble characters who bring needed support, but do not overshadow the main characters or the flow of the romance. These are people readers want to know more about.

One character, Lawrence Brendan Williams - "Law," steals every scene he is in. However, the author wisely reins him in and doesn't use him in scenes where Angela and Jeff are together. It was also good to see Mike and Yvonne Benjamin.

Secrets and misunderstandings mar Jeff and Angela's relationship. They often slow down the pace of the story. Repetition of the title phrase became grating after a bit.

No Apologies is about second chances, trust, forgiveness, family, duty and love. It marks continued growth in the author's romance writing career and is definitely worth a look. I am looking forward to her next book.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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