Barely Mistaken

 
Barely Behaving
by Jennifer LaBrecque
(Harl. Tempt. # 952, $4.25, R) ISBN 0-373-69152-1
****
When a bad girl is a bad girl on the outside but a really vulnerable sweet girl on the inside, what is one to do? Tammy Cooper uses the “I don’t care” attitude and tries to shut everyone out who might hurt her. In Barely Behaving, after three failed marriages, Tammy finally finds a man who can see beyond the attitude.

This story works because Tammy is a great type of heroine and finds her soulmate in Niall Fortson. And the Heat subtitle is descriptive of the sexual tension and activity between the two. But between the funny scenes and the sex scenes is a very romantic story.

Niall is a veterinarian who has just ended a multi-year live-in situation when he discovered his girlfriend Mia never wants to marry. He leaves the big city and moves to small town America to pursue his practice. He buys a house and moves in, only to discover his shapely neighbor sunbathing on her back porch – naked. Actually his little dog discovers her, he just enjoys the view.

From there Tammy invites him into her life in the form of a two-week affair. That way neither gets too attached nor hurt when one walks away. Besides, Tammy figures Niall is looking for marriage and she has decided never to walk down that aisle again.

Tammy has had it tough. Her mother walked out, leaving her to be a mother to her family. She was only nine years old. Then she went through three marriages, none of which she was able to handle, primarily because she never let the men get close enough to really hurt her. Of course, that way she could easily walk away when they started straying or she got tired of them.

Now Tammy is in over her head. Niall is the ultimate in sexual relations and to top it off, she connects with him, mind and soul. And Tammy is scared to death. When Niall convinces her to help him heal an abandoned greyhound dog, she is lost. Remembering a childhood dog that died, Tammy doesn’t want even that commitment. But one look at the soulful eyes of this dog and she is hooked.

Niall, meanwhile, falls head over heels. Now he just has to convince her to make this last longer than two weeks. He is smart, savvy and totally out of his element with Tammy.

What makes this story work is the relationship. They just connect both physically and mentally. It is engaging and fun to watch them in the game of love. The sex is hot. The melding of minds is touching. And the humor makes it feel real.

There isn’t much left to say. I enjoyed this book, more so than I thought I would after reading the back cover. LaBrecque writes her characters to jump off the pages and they did. I fell for Barely Behaving hook, line and sinker. I think you will too.

--Shirley Lyons


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