A Body to Die For

Caught Under the Mistletoe

Dodging Cupid's Arrow!

Not in My Bed!

Once a Hero

 
All Through the Night by Kate Hoffmann
(Harl. Tempt. #795, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25895-X
****
Humor is an all-too-often overlooked ingredient, but to me it's vital if I'm going to really appreciate a book. I'd much rather grin, laugh out loud, snort or just basically lose it while I'm reading than to be mired down in the lives of unhappy people. Call me shallow, but give me laughter over tears any day. That said, All Through the Night gave me plenty of reasons to grin, laugh, etc.

‘Prudence Trueheart' a.k.a. Nora Pierce writes a etiquette column for a San Francisco newspaper. Deciding that she's been acting like ‘Prudence' too long, Nora resolves that she needs some oomph in her life, but a morals clause in her contract means that she can't let anybody know that ‘Prudence' has a sex drive. Buying a wig, Nora decides that she's going to prove to herself that she's still sexy. And, boy, does she. Thinking that she's incognito, she and a friend visit a Fisherman's Wharf bar.

Sports columnist Pete Beckett, Nora's idea of a sexy slob, recognizes Nora immediately despite the black wig and a provocative dress. He's bowled over. What's happened to the stuffy etiquette writer, and why is she dressed like sex personified? Not letting on that he recognizes Nora, Pete introduces himself, curious to see what's going on. When they end up in Pete's apartment, they're both surprised that they're dynamite together.

Now the fun begins. Pete has to pretend that he doesn't know that it was Nora who'd come apart in his arms the night before. Nora has to come to grips that she's head over heels with a man she considers a womanizer. She's also worried that he's interested in a black-haired mystery woman. Why shouldn't she, when Pete improvises the idea that he needs etiquette lessons so that he can impress his ladylove. What Nora doesn't know is that Pete's trying to impress her! It's a delightful mess of the first order, and watching the events unfold kept me entertained the whole book.

All Through the Night is filled with snappy dialog, fast-paced action, and considering it's this month's BLAZE, plenty of red-hot sex. Pete is great as he balances different ideas of how to catch Nora and convince her that she's the one he wants. Nora makes it tough for him as she hatches harebrained schemes. One in particular backfires beautifully. Nora, still thinking that Pete prefers the black-haired mystery woman rather than herself, decides that she'll visit Pete, wearing the infamous wig. Her plan is to demand a commitment, thinking that Pete will run in fear. Pete throws her for a loop when he agrees that marriage is just the ticket.

Trying to get herself out of the tangled web she's woven, she concocts these qualifications for the man she wants to marry, hoping desperately that this will curb Pete's seeming enthusiasm.

"I want a man who will always be there. A-a man who'll provide for me. A man who enjoys the things I do. Like-like shopping and decoration. Gourmet cooking and . . . sewing." She congratulated herself on quick thinking. No man enjoyed sewing!

Try to overlook Nora's mother, who's vacuous actions are far from motherly. Her landlord, a witty, gay man, is wonderful for comic effect, reminiscent of the character in My Best Friend's Wedding.

All Through the Night is a great example of what happens when a talented author combines fast-paced, zany comedy and lots of heavy-breathing moments for a provocatively sweet story. It really is ‘sassy, sexy and seductive.'

--Linda Mowery


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