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Family at Stake    by Molly O'Keefe order for
Family at Stake
by Molly O'Keefe
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Mac Edwards and Rachel Filmore were once best friends, but Rachel decided not to stick around. Because of a horrible family situation, she left home after high school graduation, leaving behind her beloved younger brother and Mac, the teenage boy she didn't realize she loved. After a one-night stand on graduation day, Mac believed Rachel when she said she'd stay for him. But he was wrong.

Thirteen years later, Rachel is a social worker in Santa Barbara County, living not too far from her hometown of New Springs. Her new clients, unfortunately, happen to be Mac and his teenage daughter Amanda. Lying to her boss and good friend Olivia (as this is a conflict of interest) Rachel feels she can help Mac and his troubled daughter. Mac is angry when he finds Rachel back in his life. She betrayed him years ago, and is the worst person to be their social worker.

Amanda is a very angry young girl who is no longer eating - it is up to Rachel to figure out why. When she gets to know Amanda, she sees herself in this troubled girl, and feels that she can help Amanda deal with her demons.

Its realistic and strongly written characters make Family at Stake a winner. Very intense family situations, both in Mac's present and his and Rachel's pasts, keep this book interesting and fast moving. I am looking forward to reading more by Molly O'Keefe, who has what it takes to write a riveting contemporary romance, dealing with real people and real problems.

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