Bestselling American romance and thriller novelist whose popular books include Crown Jewel, Pretty Woman, and the Captive and Texas series.
She published her debut novel, Pride and Passion, in 1975.
After separating from her husband, she moved to a historic plantation house in South Carolina.
Born Mary Ruth Kuczkir in Pennsylvania, she later settled in New Jersey with her husband and five children.
She and fellow American writer Debbie Macomber both had successful careers as romance novelists.