Duets 83

North Country Man

Smooth Moves

Sinfully Sweet by Carrie Alexander
(Harl. Tempt. # 929, $4.25, R) ISBN 0-373-69129-7
Sinfully Sweet is just that, a delicious sexy romp about an undercover cop and a candy store owner who get mixed up in a criminal operation that turns syrupy towards the end.

Mackenzie Bliss has made a bet with her sister. They both must make major life changes and an heirloom diamond ring is on the line. Mackenzie has always been the solid sister: dull, predictable, dutiful and smart. She is not fashionably thin, but a respectable size 12. Now she has cut her hair, dumped her dull boyfriend, and opened her own candy store in Greenwich Village. She is also going to her 10-year high school reunion to see if the crush she had on Devlin Brandt is still as powerful as it used to be.

Devlin, Mackenzie learns at the reunion, has been in trouble with the law and is someone she should steer clear of. But he doesn’t show up. Yet upon her return home, she literally is run down by him outside her apartment. He pushes her into her apartment and makes her lie to two men who show up on her doorstep saying they are the police. Devlin has been beaten up and is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Devlin is an undercover cop, in what is called “deep cover”. That means he lives his assignment and no one knows he is a cop, except for one man he contacts at the department. That includes Mackenzie and her friends. He has been involved in a ring of thieves who now think he was trying to double cross them. In reality, he was taking evidence. He ends up on Mackenzie’s doorstep trying to elude the two thugs who are after him.

What follows is a pure romp of sexual exploration and a little bit of a convoluted story about this undercover action. Mackenzie is sweet, naïve and yet, surprisingly sexually playful while struggling with her feelings for a man she believes to be messed up in dangerous activity - on the wrong side of the law.

Devlin is strong and silent, yet playful, too. He talks about being cautious because of his work, but he spends a lot of time wishing wistfully that more could come of their relationship.

Because Devlin is secretive and “tough”, he is hard to read. He seems pretty vulnerable for someone who is supposed to be jaded by 6 years in deep cover operations. He succumbs to Mackenzie’s charms fairly quickly, even considering they had known each other in high school.

Mackenzie is a multilayered character but unfortunately, not all her traits fall neatly into line either. For someone who is supposed to be staid and leading a boring life she has a few unique people in her life. One is her neighbor who is a woman who masquerades as a man in a drag club for male cross dressers - not exactly Ethel Mertz.

It is the inconsistencies in the two main characters that hold this story at only an acceptable level. While the story moves and is full of plot twists, Mackenzie and Devlin change personas too often to make me feel I know them well. It is hard to stay invested in their love story when I am trying to figure out why they said that or did this. And they both get too sugary sweet at the end to be completely satisfying.

Sex scenes are hot and heavy, highly erotic and innovative - if you have never heard or read about jaw breaker sexplay or using flavored condoms - this may be one for you to read. Sinfully Sweet will definitely satisfy the sweet tooth in you.

--Shirley Lyons

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