Having the Tycoon's Baby 

The Billionaire in Penthouse B
by Anna DePalo
(Silh. Desire #1909, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0373-76909-1
If you have been reading the Park Avenue Scandals series, then this is a fitting end to what was a pretty good series by a large variety of authors.  DePalo gets the enigmatic billionaire who was rumored to have been the lover of the woman who either jumped or was thrown off the roof of the 721 Building on Park Avenue.  She has written a fine story for him.

The story has a familiar storyline – a heroine who has a major secret and worries about how this will impact the relationship, and a hero who has been wounded by a previous woman with her lies and only wants honesty from any new relationship.  Marie Endicott is the dead woman and her family has been devastated by her loss.  Her older sister, Jacinda, comes from London determined to discover what happened, knowing in her heart that her sister would never have committed suicide.  Her plan is to infiltrate the building and discover who killed her.  The prologue starts out as she devises a plan and the story starts as she is implementing it.  Jacinda changes her identity and her British accent to plain Jane Elliott, a woman looking for work as a housekeeper.  She is hired by the man who lives on the top floor of the 721 building – Gage Lattimer.

Initially Jacinda/Jane suspects Gage of being the tall, dark, and dangerous man that her sister was rumored to be engaged with in an affair, but the more she spends time with him, she realizes that Gage is not the playboy type.  He is more the quiet, subtle power force in his own world of business.  He rarely dates and shows signs of having been hurt in his past. Jacinda fights her own feelings – feelings she often feels Gage is responding to.

They ultimately go through the big misunderstanding when Gage discovers that Jane is not really a housekeeper and then they join forces to help the police find the murderer.  The previous casts of characters make appearances and we learn about some of their HEAs. Gage and Jacinda are attracted to each other, and at one point, Gage “blackmails” her into sleeping with him while they hunt for the killer.  As they often do in these types of stories, love overcomes. 

If you have not read the series, this book will not stand alone.  There is too much backstory for their search to make sense if you are totally unfamiliar with the past tales.  Yet, for such a short story, Gage and Jacinda are very well-defined characters and it is easy to fall under their spells as they fall into love.  Their love action does heat up the pages and they are well matched in many ways – in bed, in their verbal sparring, in intelligence and in their willingness to handle their differences like adults. 

The fact that they live together is a little over the top and the ease in which Jacinda maintains her American accent is minimally annoying.  The murder plot is rather tepid and even finding the bad guy is all done off stage.  This is one area that was a tad disappointing.

But overall, The Billionaire in Penthouse B  is an enjoyable category romance and puts a fine spin on what was a very good series. 

--Shirley Lyons 

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