Tall, Dark & Reckless

Drop-Dead Gorgeous by Lyn Ellis
(Harl Tempt. #781, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25881-X
Drop-Dead Gorgeous is not this month's BLAZE, but it could be. It's hot enough and provocative enough to be a BLAZE and has the added bonus of possessing an inherent sweetness that makes it so complete that it's easy to recommend. This is a Temptation that lives up to that name.

Katie Sutherland is returning to her hometown of Chapel, Tennessee, for her class reunion. Katie was always the good girl in high school, the daughter of the town's wealthiest man. She's been living in San Francisco and from outward appearances, is successful and should be really happy, really fulfilled. But she's not. Her daddy has a new family with a young son; Katie feels pushed out of his perfect world. She's not even staying with her father and his family while she's in Chapel.

So Katie's come up with a plan to make her daddy notice her. She's going to raise so much hell that he'll be forced to pay attention to her, to really see her. Raising hell is tough, though, when you truly are a good girl at heart. It's also tough when the Chief of Police, Mitch McKee -- a hunk and a half -- is watching her every move.

So she starts off with small rebellions. Things come to a boil when Katie, who's imbibed enough to give herself Dutch courage, decides to participate in the amateur contest for strippers at the local bar. This should make Daddy sit up and take notice. What it really does is almost begin a riot! When the evening is over, let's just say that being with Mitch, in jail or anywhere else, is the best place to be.

As Katie compares her visit to a soap opera, with Mitch suggesting that it's more like a demolition derby, things become fun. What Katie does at her reunion to the class Barbie Doll is something that some of us wish we'd had the nerve (or opportunity) to do. Katie comes to realize that she feels safer and more cherished in Mitch's arms than she's felt in a long time.

An informed consumer knows that a cover doesn't really matter and frequently doesn't even realistically represent the characters. I know that you can't judge a book by its cover, yadda - yadda -- yadda, but in my humble opinion, Drop-Dead Gorgeous has a droolable cover. Mitch, the hunk and a half, could step off this cover and star in most women's fantasies. This is one fine specimen.

Here's a good example of how Lyn Ellis successfully combines sensuality with tenderness.

She licked her lips as his mouth descended. No one had ever kissed like Mitch. His kiss was deep and playful at the same time, sensual and branding. His kiss made something hidden within her quake.

Katie's not the only one who was quaking at this point. Ellis writes scenes that are tantalizing, alluring and quite often breathtaking. There's something to be said for vicarious thrills…yes, Yes, YES!

Whenever a hero combines tenderness with affection and sensuality, I'm hooked. When a heroine responds in kind, with admiration and shy sexuality, I can see why the hero is hooked. Drop-Dead Gorgeous has a fine balance of sex, sunshine and smiles. That's also a combination that's hard to resist.

So why try?

--Linda Mowery

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