Special Delivery by Elaine Raco Chase
SandS Publishing, $9.99 (print), $4.99 (ebook), PG-13 - ISBN 1-59025-003-6
*****
Ah, what a treat - the re-release of an old favorite! I first read Special Delivery in the 1980s when it was released as a Candlelight Ecstasy romance. It’s still in my bookcase. So when I found out that SandS Publishing had it on offer as a re-release, I jumped at the chance to introduce it to readers who might have missed it.

Roxanne Murdoch is the owner of Greetings and Salutations, a greeting-delivery service. Everything from singing apes to balloon-o-grams are offered by Roxanne’s talented staff. On a snowy December night just before New Years, however, Roxanne is stuck delivering a belly-gram when her regular dancer breaks an ankle. No problem. It’s to be delivered to Abraham Tyler, newest vice-president of Hepworth National Bank. Roxanne suits up, glues a fake jewel in her navel, grabs her boombox, and sets out to give the staid Mr. Tyler the congratulation of his life - provided she doesn’t give him a heart attack first.

Bram Tyler is astonished when his grinning colleagues escort a woman dressed in veils into the conference room of the bank. As the pulsing beat of the music fills the room, Bram finds he’s growing decidedly short of breath, not a usual happening for a thirty-five-year-old bachelor. The dance ends, Roxanne escapes, and Bram is left with a veil draped around his neck.

And so the evening is supposed to end. But when Roxanne delays in the employee lounge long enough to eat a burrito and coffee, and Bram is the last to leave the bank, two strangers on an elevator find they’re not exactly strangers. Meanwhile, the snowstorm has turned into a full-scale blizzard. Two blocks and a car accident later, Bram and Roxanne return to the bank, where they’ll be snowed in for the next three days.

What’s most delightful about this romance is there’s nary a secondary character in sight. The entire book is the story of Roxanne and Bram getting to know each other and finding that they genuinely like what they find. Roxanne is in no hurry to get involved with a man after her fiancé dumped her, claiming she wasn’t dignified enough. And who could be more dignified than a banker? It will be up to Bram to prove her wrong.

The dialogue and verbal sparring between these two is a standout. It sparkles just as much now as it did fifteen years ago, and the minor updates the author made bring it firmly into the year 2001. The sexual tension is there in spades, as both Roxanne and Bram acknowledge the initial attraction and don’t really try to fight it. As they sleep on sofa cushions, wrap themselves in thermal drapes, and eventually vandalize the vending machines to get a bite to eat, readers will chuckle and nod at the plausibility of it all.

Readers may be understandably reluctant to shell out $9.99 for what is, in effect, a reprinted category romance. My suggestion? Buy one and then loan it to a friend who doesn’t read romance. It just might bring another reader into the genre. Special Delivery is a funny, warmhearted story that’s just as fresh now as it was when it first came out. Don’t miss it!

--Cathy Sova


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