The Bachelor's Bed

Duets 42

Duets 57

The Harder They Fall

Her Perfect Stranger

Hiding Out at the Circle C

Long-Lost Mom

Who's the Boss

 
Seduce Me by Jill Shalvis
(Harl Temptation # 995, $4.50, R) ISBN 0-373-69195-5
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Samantha O'Ryan has three rules and she is about to break them all. No blind dates, no kissing on the first date and no falling in love. She has isolated her heart because she never wants to be hurt again. Her parents died when she was young, and she was raised by her uncle, a beach bum. He was great to her, teaching her to cook and letting her help out in his little café, but he has always maintained a distance. Now that she is an adult, she surfs all morning, and runs her café, selling her famous sandwiches and desserts. The only thing she can't cook is brownies, the one thing her mother used to make to perfection. Her only friend is one she has had forever, and Lorissa is setting her up for the blind date.

This blind date is none other than retired NBA player Jack Knight. Jack was known for playing hard on and off the field. He was the captain and public persona of a team that won but had a “wild man” reputation. Of course, all the stories about Jack were untrue…but he lived with the press and the lies. Now he is retired after several knee surgeries, and he is trying to live a quiet, normal life in a big mansion he bought with some of his money. He loves helping inner city kids and loves to coach. His sister convinces him to help in a charity event by selling a couple of basketball lessons with him, so Jack finds himself needing a date in a hurry. His best friend is dating Lorissa and the blind date is set up.

Sparks fly, and Jack and Samantha are both attracted. Since Sam doesn't follow sports she doesn't really know who Jack is and this allows them to flirt, tease and start to connect before the public intrudes. Jack is attracted to Sam's spunk, her willingness to go along and have fun. Sam is attracted to Jack's vulnerability around the press, his obvious love for his sister and his seeming sincerity when he tells her he is not interested in a long term relationship. But when they kiss, both find more than what they bargained for.

While their romance happens and develops quickly, the pages sizzle with the tension, the teasing, and the gentle fun of getting to know each other as they surf, play basketball, help out at a charity carnival and finally steam up the bedroom windows. It is nice that they don't hop into bed right away and this anticipation is most of the fun.

Jack and Sam are both strong characters who have had to build defenses around their hearts to protect themselves. As the barriers come down, their vulnerabilities are revealed and luckily for them, the person who sees these inner feelings is caring and concerned. They deal with their fear of commitment and are mature in their interactions and in dealing with their emotions. Their friends are minor characters but show how they were shaped into the adults they are and this added balance to the tale.

Seduce Me is nicely paced and Shalvis uses her skills to tell a good story. The sexual tension was what we have come to expect from the Temptation line; this is ultimately a well-written romance and I truly had a good time reading it. That alone renders a recommendation.

--Shirley Lyons


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