Compromising Positions

Loving Mariah

It Had to Be You

Saving Susannah

I'll Be Seeing You by Beverly Bird
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1030, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27100-X
For some inexplicable reason, I never purchase stories that revolve around cop heroes even though many of my fellow romance reading friends swear by them. Perhaps it's because there are simply too many of them in contemporary romances. Cops, cowboys, and military men are to contemporary romance what dukes and earls are to historical ones...overdone staple heroes.

I'll Be Seeing You, the sequel to It Had To Be You, forces me to remember that staple heroes aren't necessarily a bad thing. Beverly Bird not only managed to make me want to read about her police detective hero, but she also kept my fingers turning the pages long into the wee hours of the night. This is a category romance you don't want to miss.

Kate Mulhern runs a small catering business called Dinner For Two; she specializes in catering gourmet meals for intimate dinners between couples. Kate gets the shock of her life while catering one night for a client: in between the time she leaves Phil McGaffney and his companion during the salad course and returns to the dining room to cart in the main course, Phil is murdered. She calls 911, whereupon Detective Raphael "Rafe" Montiel immediately shows up on the scene.

Rafe is as brash and arrogant as they come and rubs Kate the wrong way from the get-go. Just when she thought matters couldn't get much worse, she is told in no uncertain terms that the cocky, arrogant detective is to become her full-time baby-sitter until the killer is caught. As it turns out, it wasn't just any man that was murdered while eating Kate's salad...Phil McGaffney also happens to be a lead man in the Irish mob. And now someone from said mob apparently thinks Kate witnessed something more than she should have and wants her dead.

Raphael Montiel finds the overly organized Kate Mulhern an annoyance from the onset, but the more time he spends with her, the more she grows on him. Unfortunately, his attraction to Kate is something Rafe must force himself to ignore. His last girlfriend Anna had been murdered by a serial killer who chose her for the simple reason that she was in Rafe's life. Anna's killer had taunted him afterwards with vivid descriptions of how she had looked while dying, how she had begged for mercy, and how her screams had sounded.

Rafe cannot go through something like that again, especially with a woman like Kate who he's beginning to feel more attached to than all of the women in his past combined.

The protagonists of I'll Be Seeing You are colorful and well-rounded. Kate makes for a wonderful heroine. As a reader who has never carried a fond torch for ditzy female leads, Kate's strength of character is a major bonus in this well crafted novel. As a contrast, Bird has penned a hero who is just as strong internally, but who otherwise is Kate's polar opposite; where she is overly organized and somewhat uptight, he is sloppy and easy going.

It's amusing to watch the protagonists' characteristics rub off on each other to the point where Rafe begins cleaning up around the house and Kate begins kicking back and drinking beer. This is a couple that makes sense together and as the reader, you have no trouble whatsoever identifying that fact.

The mystery of "who's trying to kill Kate" is also intriguing. I shamelessly admit to being the type of reader who has been known to skim the mystery scenes in romance novels because they sometimes bore me to tears. In this instance, every single word was read. Bird does an excellent job of keeping the reader on their toes...even if you think you know who the killer is, you'll second guess yourself a few times before the conclusion of the book.

Make sure you pick up a copy of I'll Be Seeing You the next time you're book shopping. Reading about Rafe and Kate's burgeoning relationship is an intriguing way to spend a few hours.

--Tina Engler

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