Constant Craving

License to Thrill

The P.I. Who Loved Her by Tori Carrington
(Harl. Tempt. #776, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25876-3
The P.I. Who Loved Her is the second book in The Magnificent McCoy Men -- Don't Settle for less than the real McCoy! We first met the McCoy men in License to Thrill (HT 740). The third book in the series, For Her Eyes Only, will be available in July.

Ex- FBI and now ex-P.I. Mitch McCoy is returning from his brother Marc's wedding to Melanie Weber. Marc and Melanie's story was told in License to Thrill. Mitch is feeling melancholy, reminiscing about his botched attempt at marriage seven years earlier. He's remembering Liz Braden, the woman who left him at the altar, when he sees a car on the side of the road. Slowing down, he recognizes . . . LIZ!?! To complicate matters, Liz is wearing a wedding dress, and that detail has Mitch wondering if this time Liz has run off before or after the ceremony. What whets his curiosity more is speculating why there's blood on her wedding dress.

Liz Braden left Boston in a hurry, right after she clobbered her fiancÚ in the nose. Maybe she better amend that to ex-fiancÚ. The guy has frozen her assets and has threatened to file assault charges. Liz decides to regroup while staying at her grandmother's home in Virginia. It's a mixed blessing that Mitch McCoy has moved back home, too. Liz knows that he's still interested, and she knows that she has the same unresolved problems that she had seven years ago.

When the owner of a local diner is hospitalized, Liz and Mitch are thrown together as they help him out. This enforced closeness causes them to reevaluate their feelings. Has the love that brought them together years ago ever died? Is Liz worthy of Mitch's love? Can Mitch trust Liz this time with his love?

Mitch and Liz are appealing characters, which is lucky for us. The mystery that absorbs much of Mitch's time, that of trying to find out about Liz's bloodstained wedding dress, isn't much of a mystery. In fact, it sorta fizzes out over time and becomes insignificant. If all of his cases were this dull, no wonder he's changing careers and following a lifelong dream.

Liz's reasons for leaving Mitch seven years ago are even less satisfactory than the bloody wedding dress mystery. These two plot points are weak and poorly explained. If not for the strong characterizations of Liz and Mitch, this story would have been too blah. That's why we're lucky to have them, these lovers who are funny, witty, sexy, still attracted to the other, and sweetly vulnerable. And how can you not admire a woman who wears red high heeled shoes under her wedding dress!

There are glimpses of the other McCoy brothers, enough to kindle our interest in their stories. Here's my advice. If you read book one, License to Thrill, and enjoyed it, then you probably want to continue the series. If you didn't read it or didn't care for it, then The P.I. Who Loved Her, the weaker of the two books, may not be to your liking.

--Linda Mowery

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