Bewitching the Baron

The Changeling Bride

Dating Without Novacaine

George and the Virgin

The Mermaid of Penperro

Of Midnight Born

The Wildest Shore

Dr. Yes by Lisa Cach
(LoveSpell, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-505-52518-6
Lisa Cach’s entry into LoveSpells’s B.L.I.S.S. lineup is a good-natured spoof of the James Bond novels. With its retro cover art and over-the-top storyline, Dr. Yes is definitely something different. (“Dr. No”/”Dr. Yes”, get it? Instead of “Goldfinger”, maybe a future volume will be titled “Bronzemember”. Ooh la la! But I digress.)

Rachel Calais is making a living of sorts as a trekking guide in Nepal. Pink hair and nose ring notwithstanding, Rachel is smart and capable, and nobody is more surprised when her good friend Beti introduces her to Harrison Wiles, who works for the B.L.I.S.S. organization. This is some kind of international group fighting evil against women. Harrison’s mission in Nepal is to locate the lost city of Yonam, where it’s rumored that women are held enslaved to sexual desire via the use of a drug made from a mythical Nepalese plant.

Rachel scoffs at this, and at the gorgeous B.L.I.S.S. agent who immediately gets under her skin, but agrees to try and obtain the job as guide for one Dr. Alan Archer, who is determined to find Yonam and get his hands on the drug. When Rachel goes to Archer’s hotel to apply for the position, she’s shocked to find he’s the same man who relieved her of her virginity ten years earlier. Rachel looks nothing like that awkward sixteen-year-old, and Archer immediately begins envisioning Rachel as the chief woman in his soon-to-be-harem.

Harrison will accompany the expedition as a mountaineering expert, and before Rachel can sort out her reaction to the handsome agent, she’s handed a stun gun, infrared goggles, and other high-tech paraphernalia. With Archer in perpetual leering mode, the team sets out for Yonam, and Rachel and Harrison won’t need any drug to make their attraction burst into flame.

Fast-paced and just this side of silly, Dr. Yes is great fun. Harrison is a Bond prototype (think Pierce Brosnan) but is uncomfortable with women who throw themselves at him - or rather, at his good looks. He’s rankled that this pink-haired, smart-mouthed woman barely seems to take note of him. Yet he’s a good guy, and his interest in Rachel feels sincere. They bypass the usual introductory flirtation and get right to each other’s real personalities, and the attraction sizzles.

Rachel is just as much fun as Harrison. She never descends into ditzy behavior, and has a way of thinking herself out of situations that I applauded. She does have a secret about why she quit graduate school just shy of her PhD, and this adds some poignancy to her character. And the chemistry between Rachel and Harrison is terrific - there’s a real spark there, and when it finally ignites, well - let’s say Lisa Cach knows how to write a hot love scene.

Alan Archer is, quite simply, one of the more pathetic villains in recent memory. He’s not evil, just bent on vengeance for all the times he’s been rejected by various women. The opening chapter, in which he clumsily tries to pick up a woman on the beach in true lounge-lizard fashion, is hilarious. If ever a guy were compensating, it’s Dr. Alan Archer. His slimy characterization is just right for the tone of this book.

Dr. Yes is just the thing for the midwinter blahs. Whether the B.L.I.S.S. series will run out of gas and cease to be a novelty remains to be seen, but this was a snappy, sexy romance. Check it out.

--Cathy Sova

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