Addicted to Nick

Beyond Control by Bronwyn Jameson
(Silh. Desire #1596, $4.50, R) ISBN 0-373-76596-7
Beyond Control is one of those books you think you’ve read before. Divorced man with a teenage daughter (who is having a terrible time being a teenager) meets an unconventional lady who turns his life upside down. They fall in love, but not without some angst. Jameson does it well, though, so it is an enjoyable reading experience, just nothing new.

Kree O’Sullivan was a poor kid who worked hard and grew up to make something of herself. But she has scars from those years when she was unloved and unappreciated. One of the results is that she hates to feel tied down and she loves to be spontaneous. She is the proud owner of a hair salon, a place where she wants her clients to feel better when they leave – in fact she tells us at one point that she likes to give people what they don’t know they want.

But Kree is a little soft-hearted too and she has fallen on some tough times. Her best friend and bookkeeper have both been borrowing from her till, and a competitor has moved into her territory, taking a lot of her customers. Now Kree isn’t worried, because the competition is not a good hairdresser, but she is a local, so everyone has to at least try her. There are downsides to living in a small town in Australia. To top it off, the building where her salon and upstairs apartment are located has been involved in a change of ownership – the old owner has died and no one knows exactly who inherited.

Sebastian Sinclair is about as different from Kree as anyone can be. He is staid, businesslike and in total control emotionally. Seb is the product of money and parents who raised him as a single child. He finds out, however, that he is adopted and the real product of a woman with six other kids, all of whom want something from him, like his money. He is leery of people and particularly of people who don’t have control of their lives. He married young, after an impetuous one-hour interlude that left the girl pregnant. The woman is only into roaming the world with a variety of lovers and is constantly letting down their daughter, Torie.

Torie is fourteen and hates the world, mainly her father (who she thinks is too uptight and strict) and her mother (who never seems to put her first). But Torie loves Kree – with her weird hair (a result of an apprentice not doing so well with her first coloring), her carefree attitude and her willingness to let Torie hang out. Torie is the person who inherited the buildings and Seb is the executor of the will and the trustee until Torie reaches the age of majority.

Sparks fly and hormones are engaged as soon as Kree and Seb meet. They spend the time sparring with each other, arguing and being sarcastic with each other. Eventually they kiss and what a kiss…then they made love and wow! Now they are fighting with each other, fighting their attraction and slowly finding out what makes the other tick. Torie is one link and Seb’s willingness to help Kree apply for a bank loan is another.

Torie’s emotions, Seb’s control issues and Kree’s nonchalance collide and how things work out is generally fun to read. Good sex plays a part too. Luckily for the reader, Jameson knows just how to make her characters bend so that they aren’t stereotyped and she adds enough humor to make things fun. Beyond Control

--Shirley Lyons

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