The Legend MacKinnon

Legend of the Sorcerer

Tease Me

Your Wish is My Command

Walk on the Wild Side by Donna Kauffman
(Harl. Tempt. #828, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25928-X
four hearts Heiress Sunny Chandler is just about to be handed the keys to the kingdom. Her grandfather is ready for this twenty-five-year-old woman with her newly-acquired graduate degree to head the multi-million dollar Chandler Enterprises. In a rare show of spirit, Sunny balks and requests that she be allowed to have six months of freedom. When her grandfather turns a deaf ear to her plea, she demands to be let out of the limousine.

What caught Sunny's attention from the car is a sign advertising for full time kitchen help. As she's getting out of the car, her grandfather's warning that she won't last six days, much less six months in the real world stiffens her resolve. Sunny now has a reason to succeed, if for nothing else than to show dear ol' granddad that he's wrong, wrong, wrong.

Sunny's entry into D'Angelo's Italian Restaurant will change her life forever. She's given the job immediately by Mama Bennie, the matriarch of the D'Angelo family. But the canny old woman sees more in Sunny than kitchen relief. She sees a potential mate for her grandson, Nick D'Angelo.

What follows is a delightful and intelligent story of two people who, even though they're on different ends of the financial spectrum, have common ground. Sunny is a hard worker who's level-headed, bright and never considers herself above the D'Angelos, a family who've basically adopted her. She knows why Nick is against any kind of committed relationship. After all, they're both workaholics. She is occasionally miffed when he does throw their background differences at her, but she's not deterred for long. This man is special, and for as long as she's there, she wants their time to be special.

Nick, as with most men, has his occasional bouts of hard-headedness, particularly when he has the opportunity to view Sunny in her role as head of Chandler Enterprises. The differences are so evident to him that he takes a bit of convincing to accept that he and Sunny are right for each other. But by now Sunny has his number and his love.

Donna Kauffman has given us lively secondary characters. Nick's brothers and sisters are loving and caring, but have no qualms about butting in whenever they want. His sisters are particularly wonderful when they decide that Sunny is the right one for Nick. Her family is more the social register type, so they're drawn with a heavier hand. Their love and devotion for Sunny are clear, just in a far different way for the boisterous D'Angelo clan. But, ultimately, love is love, no matter how it's expressed.

This book lives up to its initial promise. There are none of the shortcomings that occasionally burden a book. There are no Big Misunderstandings, no past angst, no tortured characters and no bitterness against the opposite sex. What is present are characters who seem normal, more like you and me, with fears and doubts about finally giving up autonomy and letting another person matter deeply. Their joy in each other grows, and that joy spills over on us.

Walk on the Wild Side is a trip I recommend with pleasure.

--Linda Mowery

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