AKA: Marriage

Diagnosis: Daddy

Hitched by Christmas

A Way with Women

The Seducer by Jule McBride
(Harl. Tempt. #883, $3.99, R) ISBN 0-373-25983-2
The Seducer is the second story in the “Big Apple Bachelor” series, but the tie that binds the series together is not resolved in several ways. The romance is uneven due to a touch of the paranormal, characters who act inconsistently while indulging in some hot sex, and a shallow plotline.

Rex Steele is a New Year City undercover officer who is ready for his month-long summer vacation on Seduction Island, NY. Unfortunately, his father, a police commander in the downtown headquarters, has turned up missing. Rex suspects his father discovered something and set off to solve it himself, but he ended up on Seduction Island and was seen getting on a boat, which promptly blew up. Internal Affairs is investigating and Rex decides he will help, even when told his help is unwanted.

Rex arrives on the island in a disguise even his mother doesn’t see through to meet his landlady, a single young realtor named Pansy Hanley. Pansy is a carefree, easygoing romantic who fantasizes about the island’s resident ghost. It seems that Pansy’s great-aunt was in love with a pirate who came and settled on the island. During a terrible storm, the aunt drowned at sea and the pirate put a curse on the island. Legend says that this pirate storms around his castle and can be seen walking the beaches searching for his lost love.

So Rex is here, in this overweight, nerdy sort of tourist disguise, trying to find information about his father. In addition, he is working within a deadline of 6 months if he wants to inherit $5 million from the lottery. His mother won $15 million, and has told her sons they must marry to split it, or she is giving it all to some conservation association. Hmmm, wonder if he will find a bride?

Now the intriguing (and very implausible) thing is that Rex looks just like the portraits of the pirate. When Pansy inadvertently sees Rex taking a cool naked dip in the ocean, she thinks it is her pirate. They end up making love on the beach, and this starts a torrid affair at night…Rex undisguised and Pansy having no clue who this man is. He just slips into her bedroom, they have wild sex and off he goes in the morning.

During the day, Pansy spends time with Ned, (Rex in disguise) and discovers that he is kind, sensitive, an artist and a chef. The true Rex is all of those things, although he hides it from most people to maintain his macho policeman image.

It is like reading about a variety of characters, not just two. Rex is macho, then he is sensitive, he lies about who he is and makes love to Pansy, but he is a sensitive lover. He wants her to like him as Ned, since that is his true self, and gets mad when she is drawn to this midnight lover. But he is so sex crazed about her he can’t stay away.

This just did not work. First he is likable, then he is an arrogant male who needs to get dumped. He uses Pansy, and then he get mad when she uses him back. .

Pansy, on the other hand, is alternately a good businesswoman, a respected citizen, an airhead who dreams of her “pirate lover”, a friend to a geeky guy and a less-than-brilliant person who can’t figure out what is plainly in front of her face. I grew irritated with her quickly, especially when her lust just keeps allowing her to accept this unknown man into her bedroom night after night. How hard up can someone be?

Since the entire plot supposedly centers on Rex’s search for his dad, there are whole pieces of the story missing. And no answers are given. There is a lot of innuendo about the policewoman in charge of the investigation and Rex’s brother Sully. My guess is this is the topic of the third book. However, this is a total distraction in Rex’s story.

Maybe if you read all three of these as a whole, The Seducer would be more satisfying. But as a stand-alone, I’d recommend passing it by.

--Shirley Lyons

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