The Billionaire &
the Bassinet


Every Breath You Take
by Suzanne McMinn
(Zebra Bouquet #27, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-821-76441-1
What to do, what to do. If you're a relative newbie to category romances, you might enjoy Every Breath You Take. If you're a veteran reader, however, you'll likely be bored silly by the standard plot, standard characters, and standard romance. Yes, it's all been done before, and this reader was all too aware of the fact.

Natalie Buchanan returns home one night to find that her home has been ransacked. She calls 911, only to be further unnerved when the officer responding to the call turns out to be Miller Brannigan, her onetime lover. Seems Miller and Natalie pledged their undying love ten years ago, rich princess and kid from the down side of town, and then Natalie walked out on him. Miller and Natalie have never gotten over each other, even though they were only 18 at the time of the breakup.

Okay, hold it. Right away this sounded pretty implausible. These two broke up as teenagers, and for the last ten years they've been pining for each other? How emotionally mature are most 18 year olds, anyway? Wouldn't they have done a bit of growing up in the last ten years, at least enough to find someone else? Talk about a case of arrested development. Anyway, Miller is convinced that someone is out to get Natalie, probably someone she knows. Natalie doesn't know what to think. It's hard when she's mostly thinking about Miller.

Miller thinks about Natalie, too. He can't get her off his mind, even though he blames her for the breakup (well, she did walk out on him). However, even though it's been ten years, the two of them don't talk about it. The Big Misunderstanding gets dragged out until the last third of the book, and Natalie's explanation when she does come clean sounds like she made it up on the spot. I kept expecting Miller to laugh in disbelief.

Natalie is the standard poor-little-rich-girl whose mother died when she was young and whose father is a cold-hearted SOB. Miller is the ubiquitous foster-home child who grew up and made good. If I hadn't read this scenario at least a hundred times in the past, I might have been more entertained. As it was, they left me flat.

The only bright spot in the plot was the eventual resolution of the mystery -- it was tricky and fun, if a bit obvious by then.

However, a bit of inventiveness at the end couldn't make up for the cardboard characters and predictable (not to mention irritating) Big Misunderstanding. Suzanne McMinn has offered readers much more entertaining reads than this in the past, and here's hoping she returns to her former style soon. Every Breath You Take doesn't adequately display her talent.

--Cathy Sova

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