AFTER THE DAWN - Francis Ray
A Family Affair Novel, Book 3
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 978-0-312-68163-0
June 2013
Contemporary Romance

Elm Forks, Texas - The Present

After her grandfather Abe Collins dies, Samantha Collins learns he left her half of his company. Her father and mother had both died in a plane crash when she was still in high school. It was Abe's hope that she and the other half owner can reestablish the failing company—Collins Industry, which makes turbochargers—for the sake of the Collins family, the employees, and for the town where it is located. The other half owner isn't her intimidating Uncle Evan Collins, VP at the company, but Dillon Montgomery, a young man Abe fired many years ago, about the same time Samantha's parents died. In turn, Dillon rejected Samantha's youthful attempt at seduction.

An old rumor claims Dillon is Abe's illegitimate son since Abe gave Marlene Montgomery a job as his secretary even though the town castigated her as an unwed mother. He's not. At least Abe was honorable; Dillon's real father was an adulterous reprobate who left Marlene to raise her son alone. Despite his reputation in town as a bad boy and troublemaker, Dillon has made a fortune in the vintage car rehab and racing industry.

Samantha leaves her job as feature writer at the Houston Sentinel and moves to Elm Forks hoping Dillon will help teach her about turbochargers, and hoping she can learn to run the company. Dillon reluctantly agrees to stay and help, mostly as revenge against Samantha's Uncle Evan. Once the company is back on its feet, he will leave, and he has an invention that just might do the trick. In the meantime, he hires his friend Roman Santiago, a C.P.A., to investigate Collins Industry's financial records.

The series is called A Family Affair , but that can be taken two ways as the interactions within a family, and as a man whose affairs father a family. Complicated family dynamics are at play in AFTER THE DAWN—some good, some bad, some known, and some unknown. Sexual tension spirals between Samantha and Dillon from the start, and another unexpected romance emerges between Marlene and Roman. Emotional injury from the past plagues both romances. More trouble brews from the thwarted ambitions of Evan Collins, who thinks he should run Collins Industry. A very suspenseful encounter solves many problems, and characters from the previous stories in the series play in pivotal moments. Enjoyable characters and emotional situations make this another good read from author Francis Ray.

Robin Lee