Next to Nothing! by Barbara Dunlop
(Harl. Tempt.#901, $4.25, PG-13) 0-373-69101-7
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Jenna McBride and Candice Hammond own a small design firm in Seattle. One of the reasons to locate the business in Seattle was to get Jenna away from Boston where her obsessive ex-fiancé, Brandon Rice lives. Despite the distance, Brandon has had a series of private investigators following her in her new town.

Tyler Reeves comes from a wealthy family, but did not want to end up as a junior executive pushing papers in the family business. Instead, he started his own private investigation firm. Business was fine until his partner absconded with most of the clients' money, leaving Tyler to clean up the mess. To do that, he has had to sell his house and he needs a quick case or two that pay well. When Brandon calls and asks him to follow his fiancé for a week and send in a detailed report, Tyler takes the job.

Tyler's brother, Derek is worried about him. When Tyler refuses any financial help, but asks him to scout out Jenna so that Tyler can later follow her without being recognized, he agrees. He even finagles the situation so that Jenna and Tyler end up staying in the Quayside hotel, owned by the Reeves-DuCarter family. Jenna thinks that she is working on a design proposal to renovate the esteemed hotel and Tyler poses as a security expert also working there. What should be a routine investigation on Tyler's part turns impossible because he and Jenna are highly attracted to each other. Tyler spends a lot of time questioning his ethics because he can't seem to stay away from Jenna.

The story line covers just a little over a week's time, making the relationship's development seem awfully quick, especially with Tyler's secret and the consequences of it to resolve. The author also stretches a scene about a security camera too far causing a misunderstanding that could have easily and logically been avoided. The stretch is a rather clumsy way of moving along the intimacy between Jenna and Tyler.

As a couple, Jenna and Tyler do work. Jenna has no idea that the decorating proposal was created for her and earnestly works on her designs. Tyler quickly sees that she is not what he expected from a cheating fiancé. The slightly risqué banter between the two of them is funny and does show their compatibility.

Tyler's brother, Derek, and Jenna's partner, Candice, play important parts in the relationship. It is also obvious that the two of them are being set up for a future book. Striker, the third Reeves brother is mentioned several times, but not introduced.

This is a quick, light read that will fill a couple of hours. Likable characters all around, except for the obsessive ex-fiancé. Even Tyler's father turns out better than I originally expected from Tyler's distaste for working for the family. I expect to see more of all of them in the rest of the books.

--B. Kathy Leitle


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