The Cat's Fancy

Nobody Does it Better

 
Reckless by Julie Kenner
(Harl. Tempt. #801, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25901-8
****
Rachel Dean is going back home for her ten-year high-school reunion, and she’s a woman on a mission: find the three guys who humiliated her on Prom Night, and gain a long-awaited revenge. Her plan? Seduce them, then drop them flat. Oh, not go so far as jumping into bed. A nice case of tongue-hanging lust will suffice. Since Rachel doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to fat, shy Belinda Rachel Dean, her high-school self, this ought to work out just fine. And her first victim is going to be Carl MacLean.

Upon her arrival in Braemer, Texas, Rachel hits a dog in the rain. Standing in the road, she manages to flag down a pickup truck. With the sort of coincidence that only happens in romance novels, the truck is driven by Garrett Mac Lean, Carl’s brother and a practicing veterinarian. He’s home for a visit with his estranged father, the town vet. Rachel finds him attractive, but mistakes him for Carl and turns on the vamp act. Her plan backfires when, after patching up the dog at old Doc MacLean’s veterinary clinic, she finds herself on the waiting room couch with Carl/Garrett, ready to do the deed and half-crazed with lust herself. Only a lack of condoms prevents them.

Garrett soon discovers Rachel’s true identity, and to complicate matters, they are staying at the same bed and breakfast establishment. It isn’t long before Rachel also figures out the truth about Garrett. Nothing seems to be standing in the way of their budding relationship… except for her long-awaited plans of revenge, and Garret’s reluctance to move back to Braemer from California. To keep his eye on Rachel, Garrett decides to help her plans along. In his own fashion, of course.

Julie Kenner’s sophomore Temptation is stylish and well written. Rachel’s plan of revenge may seem a bit silly on the surface, but the author does a fine job of helping readers understand the depth of her humiliation years before. Given all Rachel went through, her plan ends up feeling mild, indeed. And her discovery that even the lousiest creeps can sometimes change their ways is an interesting journey.

Garrett is intentionally a little more aloof. Estranged from his father, he’s got bridges to mend but first he must decide if he wants to mend them. His interest in Rachel feels genuine, and their attraction is certainly steamy enough; one has no doubt that this couple has plenty of warmth to go along with the sex.

For readers who are tired of the “mommy-baby-cowboy-bride-amnesiac” stuff, this book has none of the above. Reckless is a sparkling story of old hurts healed by new love, featuring two mature adults, and that’s a whole lot to like.

--Cathy Sova


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