Night Whispers

Suite Seduction by Leslie Kelly
(Harl. Tempt. #810, $3.99, R) 0-373-25910-7
Looking for a fun read with two likable lead characters and a batch of quirky secondary characters on the side? If so, Leslie Kelly's Suite Seduction is the right book for you.

Ruthie Sinclair has had a bad day. She was a bridesmaid for the second wedding in recent times, her dress is truly ugly, and her boyfriend was shocked and headed for the hills when she suggested that they spend the night together. Since she is the chef for the family-run hotel, she slips into the restaurant kitchen after hours to drown her depression in champagne and a very rich chocolate cake.

Robert Kendall is staying at the hotel so that he can evaluate it as an addition to the chain of small hotels owned by his boss's company. The boss's daughter is also along, supposedly to help him, but instead, she hands him the key to her room and expects him to join her for a late night romp. He is not interested and tries to stall her. He decides that an inspection visit to the kitchen would give him some time. When he walks in, he hears Ruthie talking to herself and then sees a beautiful, curvaceous woman in a very ugly dress. She's surprised, but the two of them start talking and she laughingly tells him her troubles, partly because of the amount of champagne she has consumed and partly because he seems genuinely and sincerely interested in what she has to say.

When they go to their rooms, she accidentally takes three cold tablets instead of three aspirin and falls asleep, dreaming of Robert. He decides that he must confront the boss's daughter and tell her that he has no plans to sleep with her. The problem is that the numbered key he has turns out to be Ruthie's room key. He had picked it up by accident and put it in his pocket. She seems coherent and welcoming and they spend the night enjoying themselves. The next morning, Ruthie awakens not remembering anything but sweet, hot dreams of Robert, and is embarrassed to see him. Things only get worse later when she walks into the board meeting of the family hotel business and discovers that Robert represents the company that plans to force the family to sell the hotel.

Robert and Ruthie start out wanting totally different things from life. He wants his fast-moving career in New York and has no plans to have kids. For Ruthie, Philadelphia and the hotel are her security and symbol of a close-knit family working together. She regrets being only child and plans find a sensible man, settle down, and have a number of children. He also wants to get the hotel for his boss, but she wants to keep it family-owned and independent.

The interaction between the two is funny, witty, charming and their lovemaking is hot and sensual. The author lets them become companions and friends as well as lovers. Ruthie tends to put herself down because she isn't model thin, but Robert shows her how very attractive he finds her. What a guy!

The relatives and hotel workers add humor to the story, from the kleptomaniac aunt to the spacey surfer dude cousin to the housekeeping staff who play tricks on Robert.

I've been reading a number of good, but dark and serious romances lately, so Suite Seduction was the perfect antidote. The humor and joy of this book were an enjoyable break.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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