WITHIN REACH – Sarah Mayberry
Harlequin Super Romance #1795
ISBN: 978-0-373-71795-8
August 2012
Contemporary Series Romance

Melbourne, Australia - Present Day

Angela Bartlett is a jewelry maker.  On her best friend Billie's birthday, tragedy occurs. Billie, at thirty-two years old, with two children, and a devoted husband, keels over with a heart attack and dies.  Angela grieves, but shortly thereafter leaves for New York for a jewelry trip.  On her return, she visits Michael and the children and is shocked at what she sees.  The blinds are drawn; the house is in chaos, and Michael is lost in his grief.  She talks to him, tells him he must get his act together for himself and his children.  He realizes the reality of his situation, and begins to pull himself together.

Angie is very close to Billie and Michael's children, Eva and Charlie.  They think of her as Auntie Angie, and Michael thinks of her as a special friend. When Angie's studio is broken into and trashed, he comes to help.  Their friendship becomes stronger than ever with their mutual grief over the death of Billie.  Attraction begins to flourish between them.

Angie's studio is old and not in a safe area.  She and Michael make a deal with each other.  She will use Billie's ceramic studio, which is part of Michael's home, and Angie will help with the children…a win-win situation.  Or is it?  They are reluctantly attracted to each other as Billie's spirit stands between them.

WITHIN REACH is a rather uncomfortable love story.  Readers will feel that Billie, in all probability, would have liked a relationship to form between her lover and her best friend, but both Angie and Michael feel guilty and miserable about their feelings toward each other.  They are likeable people who want to ignore the attraction and focus on the needs of the children.  There is romantic tension throughout the book as they draw closer to each other and as a stronger relationship forms between them.

The second half of WITHIN REACH is more like a Harlequin Blaze than a Super Romance.  It is hot, hot, hot.  Ms. Mayberry writes a compelling story that is heart felt.  It flows well, has realistic dialogue, and is easy to read.  An excellent summer read.

Marilyn Heyman