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Colleen Shannon 
Love Spell, September 1999
400 pages; ISBN# 050552340X

Category: Time Travel Romance
Reviewed by: Sheila B.

bookcover HEAVEN'S ROGUE by Shannon
Heaven's Rogue is a Contemporary Romance about Dominico Paolo Constantine Castiglione who is a rogue that was an assistant to Michelangelo in 1499.   Dominico was a man that was very disillusioned with life.  The woman he loved had died from lack of medical care in the summer of 1499.  His parents were dead.  His friendship with Michelangelo was gone.  He became a soldier.  He did things in life that he couldn't live with and was now a wanted man who couldn't find his last remaining relative, his brother Raphael.  So, he gathered up his possessions, purchased Brandy and went and hid in his and Michelangelo's favorite hiding place.  There he tried to drink his troubles away; as finally, so disillusioned, he cursed God.  To his shock, an angel appeared and informed him that he was to be imprisoned (put into the form of a statue)  for 500 years for his sin.  On the dawning of the new Millennium, God would give him one chance to right the wrongs that he had done.  A virgin's tears and prayers would bring him to life again.  He had until the year 2000 to find the last living descendant of his brother and help him get his life straightened out for he would be on the same road to destruction that Dominico was on.  And that that descendant would be vital to the fate of mankind.  If he didn't succeed he would be turned back into a statue for all eternity. 

Honor is an Assistant Curator for a Museum in Portland who has always loved the statue of the David.  She thinks it embodies the perfect man.  So on a trip to Italy when she falls through a cavern and finds a life size statue of the David she is sure that Michelangelo was the artist behind the statue.  She gets the statue brought to Portland and is working to prove that it is an artwork of Michelangelo's.  When some of the lab tests come back saying that the stone is not man made, she is fired from her job.  What hurts her the most is leaving the statue.  So she kneels at his feet, wraps her arms around his calves, and cries and says like a prayer "why can't you be real?"  Her virgin tears and her prayer brings Dominico back to life.   I think this is one of the best scenes in the book.  She is kneeling there holding his legs as he comes back to life.  He reaches down and caresses her hair and says "you saved me with your tears sweet little virgin, why do you cry?" 

Dominico now has to find his relative; so he and Honor go to New York to trace records through Ellis Island.  Honor is wanted by the law for stealing the statue.  Dominico's last remaining descendant is Rafe Castigi, an ex-Navy Seal who's very embittered with life and most definitely a wounded warrior (who thankfully will have a book of his own because he is great).  Rafe and Dominico's first meeting ends up in an all out fight that gets both of them landed in jail.   I think that kind of tells you what their relationship becomes. 

Rafe has given up on life... Dominico has already been there.  He is a hero you can easily love.  He wants to help Rafe; he loves Honor, and he is a man trying to do the right thing for all the right reasons.  Even though he was a rogue in the past, he has old fashioned ideas for our time.   Dominico puts a very high value on Honor and doesn't want to do anything to dishonor her.  He is determined to make up for his past.   Honor loves Dominico and wants to help him save Rafe.   She can't bear the idea of Dominico being turned back into a statue, even if it means that she will lose him when he returns to his own time. 

I do not normally read contemporary.  But I did truly enjoy this book.  I definitely like the statue theme and there were a lot of great secondary characters like Rafe and Nick.  Ms. Shannon says both will have their own books!  The fact that I want to read the books that will come after this, even though they are contemporary, says that I definitely liked it. 

Sheila Bragg/ September, 1999 
Copyright © 1999 for Paranormal Romance Reviews

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