Dove's Way

Nightingale's Gate

Suddenly Sexy

Swan's Grace

The Ways of Grace

The Wedding Diaries

Sinfully Sexy by Linda Francis Lee
(Ballantine, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-345-46272-6
Sinfully Sexy is the second in Linda Francis Lee’s latest series that started with Suddenly Sexy. Although this book is better than its predecessor, it doesn’t warrant an unqualified recommendation.

KTEX station manager Chloe Sinclair prides herself on her intelligence and good sense. These qualities were drilled into her by the grandmother who raised her with this philosophy: “Thank your lucky stars you were born plain-looking, Chloe love. Your gift is being smart and sensible. Don’t ever let that desert you.” Although Chloe cultivates her reputation as an intelligent woman and “good girl,” she feels lonely and wants something different. In short, “Good girl Chloe Sinclair wanted to be sinfully sexy.”

On the way to a cocktail reception, she has the chance to do just that. After literally running into a man as she enters the hotel, she falls to the ground and hurts herself. The man leads her into a bathroom where he tends to her scrapes. They are instantly attracted, and Chloe makes a move by asking him to kiss her. He does and their passion escalates; they nearly have sex before they are interrupted. Chloe leaves the hotel believing that she’ll never see him again and determined to put the event and the man behind her.

That proves difficult when she meets him the next day at the office. He is introduced as Trey Tanner, a representative from Prescott Media. KTEX is in trouble, and the owner invited Trey to help them save the company. Chloe has heard of Prescott Media and of Sterling Prescott, whose specialty is buying out and taking over failing companies. She doesn’t trust Trey.

In fact, “Trey” is actually Sterling Prescott. He initially planned to take over KTEX as he has so many other companies, but when his brother challenges him to make KTEX successful and win Chloe’s approval, he can’t resist. Step one in his campaign is developing a reality show about a bachelor who selects his match; the program is called The Catch and His Dozen Texas Roses. When the catch runs off with one of the roses, Chloe maneuvers Sterling into taking his place. Sterling returns the favor by insisting that Chloe replace the missing rose.

Sterling and Chloe’s chemistry is one of the best things about the book. Lee makes their instant attraction believable, and the sexual tension builds nicely as the story progresses. Although Sterling is dishonest about his identity, he’s refreshingly honest about his emotions. It’s nice when you can root for a hero, and I found myself liking him more as I kept reading. It’s clear how much he cares about Chloe.

Though I liked Chloe at times, she’s less compelling. She wants to get kicked off the show, and this desire leads her to make some puzzling decisions. She was raised not to trust men, and this becomes frustrating after a while. It takes her too long to see the good person in front of her.

Sinfully Sexy works as a stand-alone novel, and it’s more enjoyable than the first book in this series. But an uneven and occasionally exasperating heroine keeps the from reaching its potential.

--Alyssa Hurzeler

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