Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?
by Gemma Bruce
(Brava, $14.00, NC-17) ISBN 0-7582-1141-4
****
I’ve long been a reader of Brava’s multi-author anthologies. In most cases, the stories vary in quality — from very good to very poor and everything in between. Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? is a single-author anthology by Gemma Bruce. The stories range from good to very good, offering romantica readers a solid read.

“Wicked Widow” opens the anthology. Hannah (Nan) Harrington-Scott is one of three women at the Women-Tek agency. She’s been hired to monitor Rupert Sims. Trouble is, another investigator is on the case. Nan doesn’t know Damon Connelly, but she knows that he’s a good investigator and that he’s very hot. Nan finds him fascinating.

This story is the weakest of the three, although it gets better as it goes. Nan gave up casual sex six months ago, but Damon is all too tempting. Still, the speed with which they end up in bed, especially when they know so little about each other, strains credulity. The sex is steamy, but their brief acquaintance remained in the back of my mind. The romance becomes more convincing as they get to know each other better. Three hearts.

Geena Cole is the heroine of the second story, “Man with a Past.” It’s been 10 years since Cabot (Cab) Vandermeer was accused of killing his uncle Max. He left the country, but he never forgot Geena. When another uncle wants to declare Cab dead, Cab returns and hopes Geena will help him prove his innocence.

Although there is a conventional 10-year separation between the lovers (why are romance couples so often reunited after 10 years instead of 4 or 7?), “Man with a Past” also includes interesting variations. Geena has never been able to put the past with Cab behind her, but she recognizes her value as a woman and an investigator. For his part, Cab wants to protect Geena, but he learns that asking for help is not expressing weakness. This story is my favorite of the three. Four hearts.

In “Love Bites,” Delia Petrocelli investigates Ben Michaelson, who is suspected of killing a prostitute. As she spends time with Ben, Delia realizes that he could not have killed anyone. She also realizes that she’s very attracted to him.

The plot of this story proceeds rather typically, with Delia getting to know Ben, then worrying how he’ll react when he discovers who she is. But Ben and Delia make the familiar story engaging. Being duped lowered Ben’s confidence in romantic relationships, which results in some awkward moments as he tries to determine Delia’s background. I found him to be endearingly awkward. Four hearts.

Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? is a nice anthology. Whether you read it in one, two, or three sittings, you’re likely to be entertained.

--Alyssa Hurzeler


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