Into the Night

Private Lies

True Blue

Bring Me A Dream
by Robyn Amos
(Harper Torch, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-81542-7
There are those who think the world of the Washington bodyguard is all high-powered glitz and glitter. Jasmine White might suggest they think again. After a eighteen months on the job, the former Washington, DC policewoman has had a series of dead-end duties.

We meet Jasmine in the opening pages of Robyn Amos' Bring Me A Dream. She has just returned from her latest assignment. Dressed in a bubble-gum pink taffeta dress, she attends the senior prom with the son of a TV anchorman who "can't admit his son is too geeky to get a real prom date." To add to her humiliation, her young charge calls her "Sweet Thing" all evening. "And she didnít even lost her cool when some kid throws up on her handbag..."

Jasmine's next assignment makes her long for her prom date. Spencer "The Sandman" Powell is a former Philadelphia shock jock who now hosts a popular Washington, DC late-night talk show. When Spencer begins to receive death threats, WLPS Radio takes them seriously and hires extra security for him. The radio station job comes to the Core Protection Group agency shortly after Jasmine requests a decent assignment.

Jasmine reports to the assignment at Spencer's and he is happy to see an attractive woman on his doorstep. His happiness is short-lived when he finds out she is his "close protection specialist" - his bodyguard. To his way of thinking, a close protection specialist is a prophylactic. The first thing Jasmine has to do is change his way of thinking. So, after proving to him that - despite her delicate appearance -- she can definitely drop him on his keister, Jasmine begins to protect it.

On more than one occasion, Spencer muses he may have more to fear from his bodyguard than from the stalker. After a round of sophomoric pranks and chauvinistic remarks, Spencer begins to take the threats and Jasmine seriously. As the two begin an uneasy truce and begin to trust each other, they also acknowledge their mutual attraction and vulnerabilities. The stalker, whom Spencer has nicknamed "Nightmary," has escalated the attacks.

But he refuses to alter is lifestyle, making Jasmine's job more complicated. In the midst of the investigation, Spencer's ego often gets in the way of his common sense and he takes unnecessary chances.

Bring Me a Dream is the fourth romance in Avon's new contemporary African-American line. (TRR has reviewed the others by Kayla Perrin, Lynn Emery and Cindi Louis.) The publisher's notes indicate that the line will continue into 2002 with four new books in response to "the growing demand for African-American romance."

Robyn Amos' characterization and sense of humor made Bring Me a Dream an enjoyable read for me. These are very humane characters. The author is not afraid to let their foibles show. Robyn's quicksilver temper and Spencer's cynicism added spice to their relationship. In addition, as the search for the stalker moves into high gear, Jasmine's judgment is compromised by her relationship with Spencer. She is on the brink of blowing the big chance she desperately asked for. It is refreshing to encounter characters that are not perfect within and without. In addition to the banter between the two main characters, their efforts at one-upmanship were often humorous. Secondary characters add to the mix. Jasmine's family of overprotective brothers are scene stealers.

Bring Me A Dream, with its realistic characters and off-beat humor, is worth a look.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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