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Cross My Heart    by Carly Phillips order for
Cross My Heart
by Carly Phillips
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When young Lillian Dumont's parents die in a car crash her unmarried uncle Marc Dumont takes her in, but it's soon clear he has no interest in creating a stable or nurturing relationship with his niece; all he wants are Lillian's millions. Once she's on to Marc's agenda, Lilly balks and makes his life difficult. Marc retaliates by putting her in temporary foster care to 'teach her a lesson'. But that lesson becomes a blessing as Lilly forges a deep bond with her foster brother, Tyler Benson, and with Daniel Hunter (a troubled young boy Ty's mother takes in).

Marc's attempts to intimidate Lilly escalate and the teens decide to take desperate measures. They fake Lilly's death and she heads for New York with what little money she and her two best friends manage to scrape together. They understand that to keep her safe they can never make contact again. After a few difficult years Lilly, who now goes by the name of Lacey Kincaid, is running a successful business and pondering a marriage proposal from boyfriend Alex. She feels like she's finally reached a turning point - until the day Tyler tracks her down bearing alarming news - her uncle is about to declare Lilly legally dead so he can finally claim her inheritance and spend it on a trophy wife. Seeing Tyler again banishes the constant ache Lacey's felt in her heart during their long separation. With a little urging from Ty, she realizes it's time to confront her greedy uncle and deal with those long buried feelings she's harbored for her first and only love, Tyler Benson.

Carly Phillips has forged a place in reader's hearts with her breezy modern romances and does so again here. She offers an overall convincing portrayal of the relationship between three troubled teens and how that bond and their subsequent forced separation shapes each of their lives, both positively and negatively. Lacey and Tyler's reunion and eventual realization that they were meant to be together is nicely done, as is a secondary storyline involving Daniel Hunter and his infatuation with fellow lawyer Molly. Their relationship is left open-ended and seems one that Phillips will re-visit in another installment. Make sure that Cross My Heart is one of your summer reading choices - it's a great choice to relax with for a few hours.

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