At Your Service
by Amy Jo Cousins
(Silh. Desire #1560, $4.25, PG-13) 0-373-76560-6
**
Grace Haley, has run away from home.  Fifty per cent owner and manager of several successful Chicago restaurants, Grace disappeared when she discovered that her mother and Charles had announced to the press that Charles and Grace were engaged.  Charles had worked his way into the family graces and a management job in the corporation.  She also discovers that Charles has been talking to a number of investors about buying all of the Haley restaurants without consulting her.  All of this on top of the grief after the death of her beloved grandmother has sent Grace running.

After being in hiding for two weeks she is down to twenty dollars and afraid to use her bankcards.  She walks into an about-to-open restaurant called Tyler's Bar & Grill just as all of the staff quits.  Under an assumed name, she convinces the gorgeous owner to hire her even though she has no ID in her assumed name.  Tyler calls in his mother and sisters to help, but is impressed not only by Grace's beauty but by her ability to do several tasks at once and by giving his sisters some quick training on how to wait tables. 

Tyler and Grace are very attracted to each other.  Grace tries to fight it because she believes that Tyler will be unhappy and angry when he eventually discovers what her real life is.  He makes it hard to do so because he is not only gorgeous; he is a nice, caring man willing to help slay her dragons sight unseen.

I had a lot of trouble believing the premise of the story.  With fifty per cent ownership of the company, no one could make her sell off the Haley restaurants.  There is also no one who can make her marry Charles, so her desperate measures not to be found seem a bit extreme.  When she finally gathers her courage to deal with that situation, it seems relatively easy.

Her relationship with Tyler is more believable.  He is the rescuing, protective kind of guy and playfully seductive.  The love scenes are quite warm and sexy.  I didn't, however, really feel like I knew Tyler.  There were a few references to a former relationship that had gone sour, but very few of his thoughts came through.  I also didn't understand the reaction he had to the truth about Grace when he put her off several times when she tried to tell him.

While the story had potential, there were too many things that made me go "Huh?" for it to be really effective.  Both Grace's reaction to Charles and her family and Tyler's reaction to the truth were too extreme to be believable. 

--B. Kathy Leitle


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