The Princess & the P.I.

Say "Ahhh"

Temperature's Rising

Intimate Stranger by Donna Sterling
(Harl. Tempt. # 803, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-259-03-4
What would happen if a man who had literally lost his wife met someone just like her and she was a prostitute? This book plays with that premise but that isnít the real story.

What actually happens is that Trevor Montgomery finally has his wife, Diana, declared legally dead after her disappearance seven years ago. Then he meets someone who reminds him of her in a hotel lobby far from where they lived but near where they honeymooned together. She runs away from him and he literally chases her down. She says her name is Jen and finally tells him she is a prostitute. He hires her and finds out both that she reminds him of his wife, Diana, and that she stirs him sexually in ways that he had stopped feeling since Diana disappeared. Yipes! They definitely sizzle together.

But she isnít Jen and she isnít a prostitute. Of course she is Diana. A Diana who had to disappear into the Witness Protection Program. A Diana who changed her name and appearance afterwards. A Diana who had never told Trevor the real truth about her past when she married him. A Diana who didnít even tell him her real name when they did marry.

Now that might give you some ideas about what kind of person Diana/Jen is but in fact she is portrayed as a caring woman who deeply loved her husband and continued to miss him for years. All right. I have some problems with truly believing that, but all right.

Although she is reluctant to do so, they become involved again, with Jen/Diana refusing tell Trevor anything about what she has been doing or who she really is. She continues to pretend to be a prostitute and works really, really hard to make Trev believe it. There is quite a memorable scene in a restaurant, for example.

On the other hand - I had problems believing any of this. I enjoyed the sex scenes, mind you, but I had problems believing any of this plot. How would a man feel once he finally figures out what is going on? And how long should it take him to figure it out? How could a woman refuse to tell someone she loved any true thing about herself because she is afraid for her life -- but then risk her life and his just to be around him? In fact, how should this woman feel when her past, including her father, catches up to her? I donít think it would be the way the hero and heroine react in the story.

I was interested in the story and how the plot twists would resolve themselves but I also have this feeling that both of them needed to do a lot more thinking about what being married to each other was supposed to mean. What I could take seriously I was worried about. How could any man trust someone who had done all this, no matter for what reason? Of course if they arenít worried, maybe I shouldnít be either. Maybe they can spend the rest of their lives in bed - which was mostly what I was interested in during this story even though I had hoped for a little more.

--Irene WIlliams

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