The Christmas Present
Harlequin SuperRomance, Dec 2009, $5.50
In San Francisco, Diego Sanchez who spends time at Rafael Cardoza’s Helping Hands community center is accused of murdering his pregnant teenage girlfriend. Rafael believes Diego who swears he is innocent, not because the lad says so but because he knows how much Diego loved Esme. He needs to find a good criminal layer but that costs money.
Rafael rescues divorce attorney Vivian Wentworth from a gang of teens. A mutual friend Richard sent her to defend Diego pro bono though criminal law is far from her specialty. Rafael thinks he should kick her back to uptown designer clothing where she belongs, but she refuses to quit. Instead she works extremely hard to prove Diego is innocent while also persuading Rafael to escort her as they work the mean streets seeking expert witness.
This is an engaging legal thriller romance with a delightful lead couple from opposites sides of Geary Blvd falling in love while trying to defend a Hispanic teen from a murder rap. In many ways Diego owns the story line as he has no time to grieve his loss as the system is ready to lock away a poor Hispanic not caring whether he did the brutal deed. The Christmas Present is a strong tale with a deep social commentary bringing profoundness to the holiday season.