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Night to Remember

 
Made for Each Other
by Niqui Stanhope
(Arabesque/BET, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-58314-014-X
***
"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."
--Leroy "Satchel" Paige

It was the "week-from-hell." In retrospect, interior designer Summer Stevens would probably look back on her encounter with a rude motorist who stole her coveted parking space minutes before her big meeting as the best thing to happen to her. Within the space of a week, Summer loses her best friend, her job, a place to live, her fiancÚ, and her identity.

Summer retreats from Los Angeles to her parents' home in Mammoth Lakes to regroup and to internalize her mother's advice: "Summer...sometimes life is unpredictable. But, when it knocks you down...you don't lie down and die. You get back up...you fight. You've always been a fighter..."

Summer rallies and decides to take a working vacation by accepting a consulting job in Jamaica. The job of restoring a family cottage will give her a chance to throw herself into her work far away from the things that have bothered her. Unfortunately, one of the "things that have bothered her" was businessman Gavin Pagne.

Their short-lived meeting in Los Angeles indirectly resulted in the loss of her job. First impressions were lasting impressions and not all of them were good.

Summer was hired for the Jamaica job by Gavin's younger brother, Nicholas without his knowledge. She has no idea that the job was with Gavin's family and that she would be required to live with them until the project was completed.

While Summer and Gavin are physically attracted to each other, she finds him arrogant, rude and overbearing. Gavin has decided that she will never do. It's not so much that opposites attract, it's that neither believes in "romantic love" so they have no clue what they really want in a relationship. And then there's that perception problem.

Gavin has Summer categorized with "women who are vain, selfish, immoral, money-hungry gold-diggers. Women who go after anything with a pulse, as long as there's a thick wallet dangling somewhere at the end of the chase. I can't stand women who wear makeup as thick as mud...who have long curving painted nails..." The woman who becomes Mrs. Gavin Pagne will be both a virgin and a Cordon Blue chef. Summer is neither.

However, she is determined to change his opinion of her, even if it kills him! Summer's attempt a preparing a seductive dinner for two is among the very funny moments in Made for Each Other.

Made for Each Other is only Niqui Stanhope's second book. The author's sense of humor, ability to create the sense of exotic locales and her characterization are what save Made for Each Other. The secret to enjoying this story is not to look back. Readers have to be willing to forget most of what occurred before and to go with the flow.

The humor and depiction of aspects of Jamaican culture are pleasant. The sexual tension between the main characters and their interplay with secondary characters is believable. She has created likable characters that I was interested in. (I even wanted to know what happened to a stray dog found in the yard!)

However, Made for Each Other is not a perfect book. There are entirely too many loose ends. Possibilities and probabilities are left unresolved. They aren't cliffhangers. Right now, they're just dangling coincidences.

But, if you don't look back...Made for Each Other is a good read. I really hope some of the unanswered questions in this novel will be resolved in spin-offs featuring Gavin's single younger brothers.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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