Berkley, Jan 2002, 304 pp.
The Earl of Haverwood relishes the public hanging of vicious serial killer rapist Jack Cady as his wife Mary was a victim of the odious individual. However, unlike most of his targets, Mary survived the throat slashing and gave birth to the rapist's son. Nine years later, Colin watches the state execute his biological sire while his “father” pounds into him that he has the taint of that vicious animal and is worthless too.
Almost two decades later, Colin learns he must marry if he is to continue to manage the St. George Orphanage, the place he does penance for the evil of his father. Colin fears marriage because the father who raised him taught him that he is a beast just like Jack was. That is why he avoids Sarah Banks, who he desires with all his soul. Sarah manages a successful gaming business that leaves her unsuited for marriage to most of the Ton except those who need cash. She wants Colin, but knows she must slay his dragons if she is to have him.
Though a rookie, Kathleen O'Reilly provides fans with the kind of exciting character driven story usually told by a veteran. TOUCHED BY FIRE engages the audience as Colin struggles with his father's lessons about his gene pool vs. the chance to embrace love for the first in his life. Though Sarah is a fine heroine and the support cast adds depth even if the Earl overdoes the blaming of the father's sins on the son, this novel belongs to Colin, a protagonist that readers will cherish.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner