Duets 23


In Too Deep

Little Miss Innocent





Morgan by Lori Foster
(Harl. Tempt. #790, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25890-9
To give you an example of how much I enjoyed Morgan, Lori Foster's second book in her Buckhorn Brothers series, I read it in one day. "So?" you ask. Well, that was the day that we drove through the redwoods of Northern California...I think. I had my nose in this book for most of that vacation day, and that's saying a lot, considering that I had the fourth Harry Potter book in the backseat.

Morgan is the spin-off of Foster's first Buckhorn Brothers story, Sawyer, which introduced us to the Hudson brothers, four droolable men. Morgan is the second brother to meet his Waterloo, in the form of his new sister-in-law's younger sister. The minute Morgan, the county sheriff, sees Misty Malone, he realizes that he'd like to commit acts with this luscious woman that might be illegal in some states. Knowing that he's now related by marriage to Misty puts a tight crimp in his plans. He respects his new sister-in-law so much that he knows that he can't have a slam-bam-thank you-ma'am affair with her sister. Morgan doesn't seem to be able to control his lust, so he suggests...strongly...to Misty that she leave town.

Misty Malone, who's had it up to her eyebrows with men, is intensely attracted to Morgan, but seems to be the only person who's not cowed by his temper. She goes nose to nose with this big hunk and tries to hold her ground with him. She's very aware of their mutual attraction, but doesn't want a man in her life. When Morgan discovers by accident that Misty is pregnant, he immediately does a one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn. Now he realizes that if that if Misty leaves for his peace of mind, he really won't have any. Misty has another secret, but this one will bond them together in a compelling manner.

Lori Foster had done an outstanding job with these two. Misty is sassy, spunky and charmingly innocent. It's takes an incredible heroine to stay up with the likes of Morgan, who's an Alpha male from head to toe. Not only does Misty stay up with him, she occasionally ties him in knots. If she hadn't been such a strong character, his bossiness could have been overbearing. As it is, each seems to complement the other. Morgan the man and the story radiate sexuality. A character-driven story, sex plays an integral role, but it's done with such finesse that the sex isn't gratuitous.

Reading a Lori Foster story reminds me of my delight when I first discovered Nora Roberts. The intensity, the snappy dialog, the delightful characterizations...these are talents that both writers have mastered. And Lori Foster is setting a pace that may make her as prolific as Nora. Ms. Foster's way with love scenes give her the edge on Nora. You can always count on her to write tantalizing, provocative sexual encounters.

And that segues into my take on sensuality ratings. I've been a voracious reader of category books for almost twenty years and have yet to read a category book that I'd consider R-rated. What separates the categories from the others is simple. In a category love scene, it's unlikely you'll find crude sexual terms being used. Yes, anatomically-correct terms will be used and the frequency and intensity may be off the scale, but the language is not crude. When two people care for each other and express that caring in adult, sensual acts, I don't find that an R-rated episode. However, throw in the crude language, and my rating changes. There's no crudeness in Morgan, thus the PG-13 rating.

Lori Foster writes clean, flowing, fluid prose. I found myself metaphorically perched on Misty's shoulder, observing everything with avid interest. The Hudson brothers are a really neat, memorable family. I'm excited about Jordan's and Gabe's stories. Ms. Foster, will we be getting Casey's story, too? Oh, please...yes!

--Linda Mowery

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