Love and Smoke Author:Jennifer Blake Riva Stautet had long been considered among the most accomplshed women in New Orleans high society. Poised and elegant, she radiated confidence - whether attending a charity ball, hosting a luncheon at Bonne Vie, her famous antebellum plantation house, or presiding over the vast fortunes of one of Louisiana's most distinguished families. — Yet i... more »t had not always been that way. Many years before, Riva had been Rebecca, the youngest of the three poor but pretty Benson girls. Spirited and bright, she had caught the attention of a brash young man from North Louisiana, a man from a family of means. His charm and good looks had blinded Rebecca to his supreme selfishness - until it was too late.
Now that man has his eye on the governor's mansion. And Riva has no intention of letting him forget his cruel treatment of her so many years before. For when he had abandoned her in the smokey, honky-tonk world of the French Quarter in the '60's, Rebecca had not the means for nor the interest in revenge. Then, she thought of only one thing: survival. And Rebecca not only survived but thrived. Her beauty blossomed, catching the attention of a wealthy, aristocratic older man. Cosmo had seen her as a diamond in the rough and had helped transform her into the astonishing Riva.
Cosmo also introduced her to something else - a love so deep and abiding that time could not crush it, nor diminish its heat. The tragedy was that her love was not for Cosmo, but for another...
With Cosmo dead and her true love still beyond reach, the time had come to settle with the past, Riva vowed to thwart the man who had betrayed her so long ago, and to protect what was most valuable to her in the present, even if it meant losing the empire she had helped build, and the man she loved most, forever.« less