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The Fire Still Burns
by Roxanne St. Clair
(Silh. Desire # 1608, $4.50,PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76608-4
****
The Fire Still Burns is the second story featuring the McGrath brothers. While not quite as charming as the first one, Colinís story is sexy, fun and worth the time.

Colin McGrath is a non-conformist architect who believes in beauty, but who wears his hair long, an earring in his ear, loves fast cars and Harleys and hides his sentimental side from all. Colin found his maternal grandmother just a few years before. She convinces him to bid on a project in Newport, Rhode Island, which would restore a beautiful old home dating back to the original buildings on the site. Colin decides to do this as a measure of the love he feels for this dying woman he has grown to love, despite his belief that love is to be avoided at all costs.

He is bidding against Hazelwood and Harrington, a grand firm that tried to woo him to join them after he graduated from college. Instead he opened his own business. Harrington is also the firm that employs Grace Harrington, the woman that Colin has had a crush on since college. They had a one-night stand that actually turned into a non-event, but Grace was too drunk and too sick to know what really happened (or failed to happen, in this case). Colin realizes he is still attracted to her, but he is determined to tell her the truth about that night years ago.

Grace is a conservative, almost boring woman who canít believe she got drunk and threw herself at Colin, only to wake up the next morning in his bed, in his t-shirt and assuming she had been deflowered. Of course, she swore off liquor and never tested the waters again, preferring to wait for a man she loved. She dedicated herself to getting her degree and now, to proving to her father that she can represent the firm and land the big account, to rebuild the burned mansion.

Grace and Colin are informed that they are the finalists and in order to get the bid, they must live in the house still on the property, polish their designs and be prepared to present their work in three weeks. As one might expect, proximity breeds attraction, and lust and ultimately to intimacy, with both vowing to just enjoy the sex.

The tale, for the most part, follows a predictable course. There is little to break new ground. Both Colin and Grace have annoying little things that keep interfering in their ability to love. Colin is fearful of commitment because his mother left when he was just a child. Grace has been out to prove to Daddy she is a professional, and is appalled by her behavior that night with Colin, vowing to never lose control again.

St. Clair does a good job of finding the good traits that helps the reader want to see how things end up. Colin is caring with his grandmother and sensitive. He is a good lover and has a great sense of humor. Grace is a warm, loving woman and blossoms when given the chance. A couple of secrets and a misunderstanding are the primary obstacles to their happiness, neither of which is anything but conventional romance storylines.

The Fire Still Burns is still a good story and one that you will want to read if you are following the McGrath brothers. Quinn and Cameron make an appearance, albeit brief. St. Clair has a flair that makes even her average work still good enough to recommend.

--Shirley Lyons


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