Just Kiss Me

Touched by Fire

Once Upon a Mattress
by Kathleen O’Reilly
(Harl. Tempt. # 927, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-69127-0
Kathleen O’Reilly has written a delightful little fairytale of a story for your early summer enjoyment. Once Upon a Mattress is part of The Wrong Bed series, about a family who makes mattresses.

Ben MacAllister is the second son of the MacAllister Bed family. His brother Allen has always been the heir to the throne, and Ben has been the adventurer. He made a list of 37 things he wanted to do with his life, and he has been exploring the world doing those things. The next one on the list is to be a cowboy in Colorado. But he has been informed that his parents are getting a divorce and he feels they need him in Dallas to help them keep the family together.

Upon his return, his father sets him up as the Director of Security, a job with a nice title but little responsibility. As he spends time at the company, Ben realizes he wants to be more involved. He decides to learn.

And he appoints as his teacher, new manager Hilary Sinclair. Hilary was hired for her brains and knowledge of the mattress business and she has not disappointed. She is working to finalize and introduce a new line of mattresses. She is attracted to Ben, yet she is extremely gun shy of men. She came to Dallas to start fresh after a seven-year engagement in Atlanta fell through. This relationship leaves her feeling unsure of herself as a woman, and yet, weary of being a “doormat”.

The opening scenario is a little far-fetched. Hilary has purchased a house that she thought was a fixer-upper only to discover it was falling down around her, literally. So she comes to the “research” area and sleeps in a bed one night. Ben decides to check out the apparent security breach and they end up in the same bed, making out. But if you can get past this, the story improves.

Their relationship moves along, with Ben growing up and Hilary realizing her worth and everyone feeling good about their lives. The family gets involved and we get a glimpse of Ben’s parents, who are good people who care about their son.

There is some hot sex as the story winds up, with some explicit scenes, but no more than one would expect in the Temptation series. I mention this only because there are not a lot of these scenes, but I would not want anyone to be surprised by the details.

If you are in the mood for a light story about a man who finally grows up and the woman he finds to help him do that, then I think you will enjoy Once Upon a Mattress.

--Shirley Lyons

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