Other Carly Phillips reviews can be found in the Archives.

Perfect Fling
by Carly Phillips
(Jove, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0425-25972-6
This is one of a series set in Serendipity, New York. Not having read the other stories did not hurt my enjoyment of this story that has a familiar ring but is written very well.

Strong, skilled and independent good girl Assistant D. A. Erin Marsden grew up in a loving family of the police chief. Her brothers Mike and Sam are now the chief and a deputy. Erin went into law. Serendipity is the kind of town where neighbors know neighbors and everyone watches out for everyone else. But at her brother’s wedding, Erin realizes she is lonely and after the reception she heads to the local bar when she hooks up with Cole Sanders. Cole was the bad boy of the town when they were growing up despite the fact that his father was the deputy chief of the police force. They never got along and, ultimately, Cole’s mother left the town with Cole in tow and remarried soon after. Cole has been gone for awhile and no one knows where he has been, but the rumors range from mob work to drifting.

They hook up for a one night stand and oops…Erin is pregnant. About the time she discovers this, she is shot at and wounded. Cole discovers he is to be a father when he checks in to see how she is doing. Now Erin has to contend with protective brothers and a protective man who detests commitment due to his past. In addition, Cole is actually a Manhattan detective who specializes in undercover work. His last case put away a mob boss. It is decided that until they know who took the shot, Cole will protect Erin by living with her and keeping her safe.

Familiar? Absolutely. The story proceeds as one might expect – their relationship goes from wary to intense sexually to wary to loving to etc… It is fairly easy to guess who the stalker is. Needless to say, despite the fact that these two independent people who are growing to care about each other are kidding themselves about their relationship, they manage to actually forge a strong bond and their romantic dance to love is fairly fun to watch. Carly Phillips is the master of sexy repartee and with characters who are strong yet uncertain. I liked both Erin and Cole and this increased the enjoyment factor. Much of the plot around Cole’s relationship with his father was predictable. And much of the actual suspense story was also easy to see coming. There are characters from the previous tales and of course, the next story is set up nicely. Phillips’ style and pacing is what keeps this as a recommended story. Perfect Fling isn’t perfect but it is an enjoyable romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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