From RomanceJunkies.com

Contemporary
A Little Secret Between Friends
By Chrissy Dionne
Jun 1, 2005 - 9:26:00 PM

Sally Stowe is a divorced mother of a teenage daughter, Lara, living in a small community on the outskirts of Calgary. She shares joint custody of her daughter with her ex-husband, Neil. Neil has anger management issues, but he'd never been physically violent toward Sally. She's a distinguished attorney, as well as having a shot at a judicial seat that'll soon be available. She'd lost her best friend, Beth, to cancer six months ago. Beth had been the one person she'd always been able to count on to be there for her. Her death had come as a devastating blow.

Colin Foster is a Crown Prosecutor. After losing his wife, Beth to cancer, he had been letting things slide. He knew it was time to start dealing with all her things but still wasn’t quite ready to deal with it. She'd been gone for six months, and there was still a container of her favorite yogurt in the refrigerator. He'd attended law school with both Beth and Sally. He'd even asked Sally out a few times. Once, he'd given her a ride home and they'd ended up making love. However, Sally found out that he'd gone out with Beth several times. Beth was really into Colin. Therefore, Sally refused to see him anymore. Neil let himself into Sally’s home. He was there under the pretense of having her sign the paperwork for Lara to obtain a passport. However, he’d already heard about her being a front-runner for the judge position that would be opening, and he was jealous and angry over it. Sally was used to his tirades. It had been the main reason for their divorce. They usually escalated into violent behavior, but he’d never hit her before, so she was stunned when he hit her, knocking her to the floor causing several injuries. After he’d left, Sally had enough presence of mind to call somebody for help. In the past, she’d always called Beth. This time was no different, only Beth wasn’t there anymore. Beth's widower, Colin found Sally in her kitchen, where Neil had left her. He doesn’t believe her story that she’d accidentally fallen. He’d seen Neil’s pen on the counter and knew there was more to this "accident" than Sally was telling. As Colin and Sally talked after returning from the hospital, they both realized there was still a sexual spark between them. It hadn’t gone away even after all these years. A LITTLE SECRET BETWEEN FRIENDS is a wonderfully heart-warming story of the bond between friends. It is also an extremely poignant look into domestic abuse. C.J. Carmichael has done a tremendous job of bringing domestic abuse into the open with this book. I was fascinated by Sally’s life. She’s such an intelligent woman, yet she’d been beaten down mentally by Neil’s abuse. Even having been divorced for more than a decade, she wouldn’t date a man because of fear of how Neil would react. When Colin figures out that Lara reminds him of his mother, he starts to wonder if she could really be his daughter. This book is emotionally charged and thought provoking. I alternated between anger, awe, fascination, and a disquieting sense of calm. Even though Beth was no longer alive, she was an amazingly loving person, and I couldn’t help but feel empathy for the love she shows for both Sally and Colin. This is definitely a book well worth reading.

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