has also reviewed:

Break Every Rule

The Heart of the Falcon

Silken Betrayal

Winter Nights

 
Until There Was You by Francis Ray
(Arabesque/BET, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-58314-028-X
****
At some point readers are going to have to stop ogling the truly astonishing man on the front cover of this book and actually read the story. Iím happy to report that Until There Was You is no mere diversion. The real sustenance is within the 320 pages of Francis Ray's carefully woven story.

Until There Was You, the fifth novel in Rayís Taggart and Falcon family saga, begins where the fourth, Break Every Rule, ended. Luke Grayson was introduced in the closing moments of Break Every Rule at the wedding of Trent and Dominique Falcon Masters. Luke seemed uncomfortable at the wedding and reception. Now we know why.

Luke's mother, Ruth Falcon Grayson, is on a mission. She has attended two weddings, in as many years, of her brother, John Henry's children. Daniel and Madelyn Falcon have made him a grandfather. Ruth has five anti-marriage children whom she has vowed to marry off -- beginning with the oldest, Luke.

Although the siblings have made a pact not to fall victim to their mother's scheme, Ruth will not be denied. In the weeks following Dominique and Trent's wedding, she has paraded 27 women around for Luke's perusal (and subsequent rejection.) Unwilling to take anymore, Luke escapes Santa Fe for the solitude of a cabin in the mountains he owns with his cousin, Daniel.

When he arrives at the cabin, the former FBI agent finds himself on the wrong end of a gun held by Catherine Stewart. Luke is not amused. Catherine is a psychologist and noted children's author to whom Daniel lent the cabin while she prepared for a series of speaking engagements in Santa Fe. She also needs solitude to regroup after a series of incidents that have threatened both her professional credibility and her personal safety. She is as pleased to see Luke as he is to find her at he cabin. Theirs is an uneasy truce.

Francis Ray's Taggart/Falcon series are among my favorites. They share space on my keeper shelf with Brenda Jackson's Madaris family saga and Carmen Green's stories about the Crawford clan in Atlanta.

Francis Ray has offered the readers glimpses into African-American and Native American life in the Southwest. The Falcons and Graysons are proud of their dual heritage.

The author has crafted a story with main and secondary characters who work well together. There is also a satisfying secondary romance and a mystery to be solved. New characters both in and out of the family give the readers endless spinoff possibilities. The Grayson siblings are more marriage shy than their first cousins, Daniel and Dominique Falcon. It's going to be so much fun reading their stories.

This one's a keeper.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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