I bought this book used as a result of a Listmania recommendation, and boy, am I glad that I did! This is a great romantic suspense story, with a strikingly original, morally ambiguous male lead character. It really pushes the envelope on what type of behavior in a hero is acceptable, and succeeds in making the reader accept it all.
Rachel Connery is a woman consumed by pain, hatred and fear - a product of her mother's constant neglect and her stepfather's abuse. Her mother recently died, but before she did she liquidated all of her assets, drained Rachel's trust fund, sold off some of Rachel's possessions, and willed everything to the Foundation of Being, a New-Age type of spiritual retreat headed up by Luke Bardell. Luke, who as a child found his mother after she committed suicide, who survived the beatings of his stepfather, who was convicted of manslaughter and served time in prison, and who has been a con man most of his life, is now running the best con of his life - a Foundation where he is viewed as virtually a messiah. Rachel suspects that the Foundation is all a sham, that the cancer deaths that have been occurring in the hospice there have had more to do with the patient's bank balance than actual illness, and has vowed to expose Luke in order to recover her lost inheritance.
The story reveals the souls of these two emotionally scarred people as they play a cat-and-mouse game with both the truth and their mutual attraction. Luke is the ultimate bad-boy hero, and Ms. Stuart has managed to make him as attractive as sin. The reader keeps waiting for him to behave in some standard heroic fashion, yet he continues to follow his own path to achieve his goals. Rachel is gradually transformed from an embittered person who just exists, to a person who actually lives.
If you can find a copy of this book, get it. It's definitely worth your time.