It Takes a Rebel

Manhunting in Mississippi

Too Hot to Sleep by Stephanie Bond
(Harl. Tempt. #787, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25881-9
We've come a long way from the era of the movie Pillow Talk. In it Rock Hudson used the phone to sing to his love du jour, with Doris Day listening in. In Stephanie Bond's capable hands, phone calls become a highly charged way to engage in safe sex, especially when it's Too Hot to Sleep.

Nurse Georgia Adams needs some ‘oomph' in her tepid relationship with her boyfriend. Taking the advice of a friend, she calls him late at night and begins what she thinks is a way to make their relationship come alive, some harmless, titillating phone sex. What she doesn't realize for most of the book is that her calls have been going to the wrong man. Oops!

Policeman Ken Medlock is awakened by a sultry voice on the phone, a voice that's telling him that the caller isn't wearing panties. That awakens his brain and parts further south. He's too bemused to inform the woman that she's gotten a wrong number. Besides, he's enjoying himself tremendously.

The two come face to face when Ken brings in an injured dog and meets Georgia, albeit briefly. She helps him with the dog and then rushes them out of the hospital. Overhearing someone call her Georgia clues Ken to her identity. Even though Ken knows who called him, Georgia is still unaware that the call she made went to the wrong man. She's also unaware that future calls, ones which will be most welcome, won't be to the boyfriend but instead will go to Ken of the close phone number.

Poor Ken! How he suffers, knowing that what he's doing is wrong. I had to stop and ask myself if there was an easy way, a considerate way to tell Georgia and have her save face, yet not hold a grudge. That's hard to pull off in real life, much less fiction. Ken is almost in the ‘damned if he does' and ‘damned if he doesn't' situation. His way of seeking forgiveness is the stuff that romance novels are made of, ways that make the reader smile at his resourceful method.

Too Hot to Sleep, while a recommended read, does have a few problems. The most glaring problem is Georgia's mom, a woman who seems to go around in a fog. She can't ever get Georgia's boyfriend's name right. It's also hard to believe that a woman could be as avaricious as she is written. Secondly, Georgia is just a bit too mulish, too quick to assign blame and too hardheaded to see that perhaps she's too hasty in her condemnation.

All that aside, Too Hot to Sleep is lighthearted and fun to read, a book that seems to turn its own pages. Stephanie Bond's writing makes it easy to see each character's viewpoint and to understand and to relate to both of them, even if Georgia is too unyielding. As this month's Blaze, it does live up to its red-hot reputation but always with a light touch and a wink.

My main suggestion when reading Too Hot to Sleep is to make sure that you've got the air-conditioning set on a low temperature. You may need it.

--Linda Mowery

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