Bride Included

Christmas Fantasy


Private Pleasures

Ready-Made Bride


Seductive Fantasy by Janelle Denison
(Harl. Tempt. #832, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25932-8
Seductive Fantasy is the first of four books in the Fantasies, Inc. miniseries, books that revolve around "an exclusive agency that caters to intimate whims, provocative requests and decadent desires." Carly Phillips and Julie Kenner will also add their talents to this fantasy line.

Alexis Baylor has decided to let Fantasies, Inc. make all her dreams come true. This workaholic, a woman whose beauty is not evident at first sight, wants to indulge in an affair with a sexy, handsome man and then wants to conceive a baby with the man's involvement ending there. To me this isn't too far up the evolutionary ladder from sperm banks. Right before she leaves for her paradise retreat on Seductive Fantasy island in the Florida Keys, she receives notice that her computer company is being sued. Well, reality will have to wait until she comes back.

Jackson Witt is a victim of computer theft. The proprietary codes which will make his computer games worth big bucks are now being used by Alexis Baylor's company. It appears that an ex-employee of his is now an employee of Alexis' company. Jackson wants revenge. When he finds out that Alexis is spending time at Seductive Fantasy, his personal revenge takes shape. When he's finished wooing and winning Alexis, she'll be gaga over him, and he'll dispose of her like a used condom.

We, the omnipotent readers, know that Alexis isn't guilty of computer theft. And we also know that Jackson won't really be able to sustain his level of hatred. Once he knows Alexis, he'll see that he's wrong. So far, so good. It's the getting there that can make a story interesting. This is one time that Janelle Denison's characters don't speak to me, don't walk off the pages, don't involve me in their lives and really don't make me care very much.

Part of the reason that I couldn't get into Seductive Fantasy is that the very idea of having to pay for secret fantasies to come true seems too cold and too commercial. Secret fantasies, ones that you pay to have come true, cross the line between harmless daydreams and become too close to prostitution for my comfort level. I was also taken aback at Jackson's means of revenge. Setting out to cold-bloodedly seduce a woman doesn't seem something that a man would do. While it's a woman's worst fear, I can see a man picking something more immediate, a more visceral form of revenge, something guaranteed to work.

Another thing, an image I couldn't erase, was that of the dreadful (my opinion) TV series, Fantasy Island. I kept seeing Tattoo and Mr. Roarke standing on the dock, welcoming guests, and the refrain, "De plane, Boss, de plane" kept running through my mind.

I do have to compliment Janelle Denison on her deft touch with love scenes. Here, the intimacy is a wonderful combination of sizzle and tenderness. When these two are intimately involved and concentrating on each other to the exclusion of all else, this book is hard to put down.

While I don't think it's absolutely necessary to read Seductive Fantasy before you read the other books in the series, it can't hurt. Just because I couldn't relate to these characters doesn't mean that you might not. As with all of Janelle Denison's books that I've read, this one still leaves the impression that Ms. Denison is one talented author.

--Linda Mowery

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