Flirting With Danger
Rules of Engagement

 
Breaking the Rules by Jamie Denton
(Harl. Tempt. #797, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-25897-6
***
Carly Cassidy shows up at the Wilde Side bar dressed in a wedding gown and trying to get ready for anything. She has already run away from her hometown groom and their wedding and, having broken the rules that far, she is more than willing to break more. The opening scene where Carly makes friends with the two biker types at the bar is fun - even though I had my serious doubts about how realistic that was.

Cooper Wilde, who has temporarily taken over his uncle’s almost-bankrupt bar, knows Carly is trouble. She’s gorgeous and she is in the wrong place with, definitely, the wrong clothes on. What’s even worse, he knows she is innocent trouble. He might not know yet - although he soon learns - that she is a minister’s daughter, but he can see she isn’t meant for a wary ex-SEAL who is trying hard to keep things stable until his uncle returns to claim his business. He keeps trying to get her to leave the bar before it is too late.

Carly won’t leave the bar. Soon she can’t leave the bar, since she has passed out from her first really stiff drink. He takes her to his upstairs apartment to sleep it off. That only starts the quarrels between the two of them. She comes up with an interesting way to save the bar and even more interesting ways to entice Cooper. He doesn’t want to get tangled up in any of her ideas though, of course, he does get involved in everything. Yes, he is soon very tangled and very involved in everything.

Carly is cute and learns fast. Cooper tries to be responsible and is thwarted. I enjoyed the idea of figuring out how to hire cheap exotic male dancers and then teaching them how to dance (which is Carly’s idea for making money at the bar.) She doesn’t do a bad seduction scene, either. And I liked the fact that Carly may want sex, but she doesn’t want no-strings sex. Her man has to be there for her with body and soul.

But the main characters weren’t so unusual or dynamic that I was riveted through the book. The innocent heroine who tames her wild guy while she tries to gain some life experience isn’t that unusual. The rough-around- the-edges hero who is still a good guy has definitely been done before. They’re done nicely but there isn’t anything too different in the chemistry between the hero and heroine.

Carly’s family shows up near the end with plenty of advice for Carly. Her sisters get there in time to see the exotic dancers at the bar and enjoy themselves a lot. I would have actually liked to read more about Carly’s sisters - this is one of a series - but maybe in a Harlequin Temptation, which is mostly all about the hero and heroine and their romance, that tells you something is wrong.

--Irene Williams


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