Caroline Stewart was a student and employee at Carrington College in Chicago. She was determined to complete her education with a law degree. Her goal was to help women who were trapped in abusive and controlling marriages. When it was her, no one from the legal system was there to help her, and she was forced to break a few laws to help herself. To what extreme was she forced to escape the controlling monster who ruled her life? She faked her death.
Seven years ago, after careful planning and two years of self-rehabilitation, Mary Grace Winters picked up her son from school in Asheville, North Carolina and never came home again. She changed her name and her son's name, then began her first day as Caroline Stewart. It wasn't until the day her car was pulled out of a Tennessee lake that her life started unraveling and her past started to catch up to her.
Max Hunter showed up for his first day on the job at Carrington College ready to face the challenging faces of the students and staff alike. He approached the desk of his receptionist and put on his 'man in charge' face until her blue eyes raised to meet his. Immediately, he softened. He expected to find judgment or pity in her eyes from seeing a man walking with a cane. Instead, he found surprise because she hadn't expected him to be so young.
Max and Caroline couldn't resist spending time together, but had a terrible time washing away their doubts and insecurities. Max felt he didn't have a chance because he couldn't walk like a 'normal' man. Caroline felt shame due to her scars and her husband.
Maximum intensity in this combination romance / psycho-thriller, DON'T TELL, will have you glued to the pages. The suspense is spine-chilling and the romance is sizzling hot!
So many times, while reading romantic-suspense, I've found either the romance is hidden behind the suspense, or the suspense is lacking. Karen Rose managed to fill each and every nook and cranny in this debut novel with material that is completely satisfying in both romance and suspense.
Caroline carried enough strength and courage for three people. She still had troubles coming out of her protective shell, but had the support of her son and her best friend. Max had a deep learning experience himself while learning to accept his handicap. Tom, Caroline's son, was a typical teen-ager creating an intricate angle in the story. His involvement brought the reality of the issues of domestic abuse to life. It would be nice to learn more about his healing progression. (hint to the author)
DON'T TELL has made it on my keeper shelf and I'll be watching for her next novel, HAVE YOU SEEN HER.
Jenny Ebmeyer, October 2003