Million Dollar Amnesia Scandal
by Rachel Bailey
(Silh. Desire #2070, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-73083-4
Ahh…amnesia stories are so often lame and rather predictable. Million Dollar Amnesia Scandal is neither lame nor predictable. It is still not a perfect story and one has to suspend a basic set of beliefs to fully become engaged in the tale, but it is ultimately an interesting and satisfactory book.

The amnesiac is famed jazz singer April Fairchild. April was in a car accident with Jesse Kentrell. Jesse died on the same day the two had signed a contract giving April control of one of Jesse’s family’s hotels in exchange for the control of her recording studio and home. With Jesse dead and April unable to remember, all the family knows is the contract exists. The “why” remains unanswered.

Seth Kentrell is Jesse’s brother. They along with half brother Ryder Bramson control the family business. And this is not just any family business. Ryder is the legitimate son of Warner Bramson and he inherited half of the thriving hotel business. Seth and Jesse are the illegitimate sons of Warner and his lifelong mistress. None of the sons were ever thrilled with their dad, who left his wife heartbroken and embarrassed and his mistress yearning for more. Each of the boys was left with scars. Seth has sworn never to fall in love, as it is never worth the heartache he saw his mother go thru, not to mention the loss of control she had over her life.

The story opens as Seth enters April’s hospital room to find out if she is faking her amnesia. He has already determined that he is fighting the contract in court if she won’t back down. He is also leery of the convenient time the amnesia buys her if she is going to fight him on the contract. So he basically threatens her and then invites her to come to “her” hotel and recuperate. He will be at her side, waiting for her to slip up so he can prove she is faking it. Since April remembers nothing, including her mother, she agrees.

That is belief test #1. Why would someone choose a total stranger over her mother…even if she can’t remember? Other than the fact that Seth and April sense a connection and attraction, and dear old mom seemed a little shrill and very overbearing, there weren’t any real reasons for April to make this decision.

But since she did, we now are treated to April and Seth sharing a connected Presidential Suite. She is introduced as the possible new owner and a star seeking privacy. Seth protects her by screening her calls, putting security on the hotel premises that keeps the press away and otherwise controling her life for a few days, so she will be forced to be exposed to things he determines. For example, he shows her some pictures of her life and she realizes that she had a connection with her deceased father that somehow connects to the hotel. This is belief #2 – the reader must accept that Seth is very controlling yet is also caring and while he has some ulterior motives, he also tries to do “the right thing” by April.

It is to the author’s credit that the reader can believe these things and can be engaged in the romance of Seth and April – a romance that seems doomed from the start and one which both parties are hesitant to get too involved. And their characters are developed enough that each person seems real, with feelings and motivations that readers can appreciate, even if they disagree with them.

The amnesia is resolved as the plot line often is, with April regaining full memory which then pushes our hero and heroine into soul searching and many decisions about their futures. Again, the skill of the author allows the reader to believe it and stay engaged in hoping for their HEA. It is this that keeps Million Dollar Amnesia Scandal in the acceptable category despite some plot lines that could have been too farfetched for most readers.

--Shirley Lyons

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