Mr. Hyde's Assets

A Perfect Fit

Those Baby Blues

Where the Heart Is

Mr. Complete by Sheridon Smythe
(Love Spell, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-505-52556-9
Mr. Complete is the name of the escort service operated by L.J. “Luke” Reynolds. His firm is highly successful but has now had two situations where the male escorts have been accused of having sex with the women. So far, the escorts have avoided prosecution, but Luke to be wary. He sets up a meeting with his men to remind them of the golden rule…look but don’t touch. Most of his men are married and one is even gay. They are all hunks and cause women’s hearts to go pitter-patter. As Luke is sitting at a bar waiting for them, he hears Lydia Carmichael plot to ruin him. Her aunt was one of the women. Aunt Tempera fell in love with one of the men and when he left her, she was devastated. Now Lydia is out for vengeance. But Luke has plans of his own.

Luke poses as one of his men with plans to seduce Lydia, all the while acting as her escort, but not accepting any money from her. (Thus she succumbs to him but has no proof to take to the police because she will not really be a client). Lydia, meanwhile, plans to seduce him to take the evidence to the police and get Mr. Complete shut down.

What neither counts on is the instant and combustible attraction they feel. Luke has never been tempted, although he likes to look, and can’t understand why he is tempted now. Meanwhile he suspects his rival, who is also his foster brother (and from whom he is estranged) is behind the whole thing. Lydia has never had an orgasm and is convinced she is frigid.

Lydia is a bit of a wild card and always has been. Orphaned when younger, she grew up with her Aunt Tempera and Uncle Theo. She is the co-owner of a spa that specializes in seaweed wraps. Because of her past problems with men, she is certain she can keep her emotions out of it.

But as Luke slowly reveals the nice man behind his façade and as Lydia slowly thaws and begins to act on her seduction, the sparks fly. There are some scenes that are HOT and others that are hilarious. The scenes with the men of Mr. Complete and the homeless shelter are heartwarming. The secondary characters are well-developed and truly fun to get to know, especially the gay Greg and the scrappy 81-year-old secretary. There is even some slight intrigue stuck in as they try to figure out who is behind trying to ruin Luke.

Lydia is generally funny and sensitive. She and Luke are perfect for each other. They do regress into a couple of misunderstandings, but generally just keep scorching the pages with their sexual exploits and their fun-filled dates. These include Luke getting his zipper caught when trying to put on sexy underwear, one of the homeless children getting hurt, and Lydia getting turned on just from giving him a massage.

There is little that is really plausible in some scenes, but that is not the purpose of the story. Let me add the caveats that if the reader is looking for completely believable, look elsewhere. There is much to churn over otherwise. Lydia is a struggling spa owner, yet she just whisks off to Barbados. She steps into a fundraising role for her Aunt, yet never misses a beat with the high and mighty rich and snobbish set. The escorts are gorgeous with great personalities who also just happen to be accomplished carpenters and painters when needed.

But since the purpose of Mr. Complete, and one which Smythe achieves handily, is to showcase two beautiful people getting caught up in the swirling eddy of their respective seductions and all the things that happen around them, it works. And it is just plain fun.

--Shirley Lyons

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