Kiss Me, Kaitlyn
by Cynthia Rutledge
(Silh. Romance #1651, $3.99, G) ISBN 0-373-19651-2
***
Kiss Me, Kaitlyn is a nice little story set in small town Iowa that has a nice couple and ends with a happy ever after. Descriptions like “enjoyable yet predictable” come to mind.

Kaitlyn Killeen has lived in little Shelby, Iowa, her whole life. And her whole life she has had dreams of heading to Chicago and designing her own line of clothing. She now has a date to leave and is ready to go. Meanwhile, she lives with her father and three brothers, takes care of the house and works for the only factory in town in the personnel office.

McCashlin Enterprises is the primary employer in Shelby. Everyone works there or knows someone who works there. Clay McCashlin, son of the owner of this large conglomerate, has come to Shelby to investigate possible theft at the plant. With no real proof, but an intuitive sense that the inventory is just not right, Clay has agreed to take care of this for his father. But he has assumed the identity of an old friend in order to infiltrate the plant without alerting the thief.

On his first day, he gets in an accident on his motorcycle and runs into Kaitlyn’s father, who offers him the opportunity to stay in the apartment over the garage. He also meets green-eyed, red-haired Kaitlyn, who instantly attracts him. Kaitlyn, too, is drawn to Clay, but knows that love interest complications are not what she needs right now.

Clay gets hired by the plant; Kaitlyn discovers his lies about his name and confronts him. Clay lies again, avoiding the use of his name, but telling her about his assignment to catch a thief. Kaitlyn agrees to help him, thus ensuring they will be in close contact. They fall in love, and then have to work out the details because Kaitlyn is leaving for Chicago soon and Clay has to go back to his old life in Chicago. Unfortunately, Kaitlyn doesn’t know he is from Chicago, nor that he is the heir to the McCashlin fortune. She thinks he is a drifter and thus wouldn’t be interested in her as a career woman.

Kaitlyn is a single-minded person who has known heartache from the death of a brother whom she practically raised. She is kind hearted but is determined to live out her dream and not complicate her life with love and children. Clay wants to prove himself to his father and yet, has hopes of starting his own business.

Neither character is completely drawn out, but both are explored enough to get a sense that they are good people and the reader can only hope all turns out for them. The “mystery” surrounding the theft is less than stellar. It is simply the backdrop for the romance. Little background is given and few details are explored. The resolution is simplistic and rather matter-of-course.

The writing is full of banter and light romantic scenes to show how the relationship between Clay and Katy deepens. It is this style that keeps the reader turning the pages. There are a few scenes that bring a smile and others that lighten the heart. There are a few that elicit a frustrating feeling from the reader, especially one where Clay professes his love and Kaitlyn brushes it off because it doesn’t fit her career plans. Yet she laments that she couldn’t tell him she loves him too.

Nice is not a term that I use when I am highly recommending a book. Nice is a word that I use when I read a book that brings some enjoyment, but which I could have passed by without really missing anything. Kiss Me, Kaitlyn is nice.

--Shirley Lyons


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