Can't Resist a Cowboy

Daddy 101

Everyday Hero

If Wishes Were....Daddies

One Wicked Night

Quick, Find a Ring

Single Sheriff Seeks...

Tangled Sheets

Hot and Bothered by Jo Leigh
(Harl. Tempt. #756, $3.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25856-9
Hot and Bothered starts of with as much energy and humor as any book in recent memory. I found myself grinning, laughing aloud and eager to read the sparkling dialog between Lee Phillips and her best friend since college, Trevor Templeton.

Lee and Trevor decided long ago that a committed relationship was not for them. They've nursed each other through a few broken hearts. Lee hits on what she thinks is an ideal situation. She and Trevor like each other, trust each other and have fun together. Considering that dating new people is dangerous, both from a health stand point and an emotion one, she suggests to Trevor that they become lovers. To her, it's the perfect solution. "No commitments, no promises, no broken hearts. Just kindness and affection and a sweetness that only Trevor was capable of."

Trevor's just lucky that there was nothing in his mouth when Lee makes her startling suggestion!

Poor Trevor can't believe what he's just heard. Flummoxed seems to be a good word to describe how he's feeling. Yes, he's attracted to Lee and at various times over their friendship, has lusted after her. Somehow the time's always been wrong. Now as the oxygen-rich blood leaves his brain and migrates south, he's going to be faced with one of the toughest choices ever. If he makes love with Lee, will their friendship survive? What is one of them falls in love? What if it's him?

Lee and Trevor face a quirky dilemma that fictional lovers rarely face. Lee worries what Trevor will do or say when he finally sees her naked. They're such good friends that she even suggests a trial run. Her idea is that Trevor strips to the buff while she watches. He nixes the one-sided strip tease. This whole episode is handled with a tender lightness, with neither of their concerns being made fun of. However, Lee plays dirty when she buys a Wonder Bra.

The Wonder Bra episode begins as Trevor arrives at Lee's apartment, ready for their first weekend together. "Trevor stared at Lee's two suitcases, both of which could hold enough clothes for a week, then at his own small overnight bag. He shook his head but refrained from comment as he loaded the car." Packing lightly must be a guy thing. Lee gets her revenge a few minutes later when Trevor does notice her new underwear.

The supporting characters add dimension and interest. This eccentric group has been friends since college. There's a married couple trying to conceive, a beautiful woman who's convinced that men are scum and a gay friend who's suffering the same slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as are his straight friends. Their curiosity adds a comical touch as they keep progress on whether the ‘Deed' had been done yet.

Hot and Bothered is an intelligent comedy, reminiscent of a first-rate episode of Friends. I kept seeing Matthew Perry as Trevor. While it does become a bit predictable, that in no way detracts from its humor or its gentle approach to these two friends who want to deepen their relationship but not at the price of ruining their friendship. Their balancing act is handled adroitly and with lots of accompanying humor.

Yes, Hot and Bothered is a ‘Blaze' book and does live up to those expectations. The scenes between the sheets are worth the price of the book. What makes the story a stand out is the tenderness and sweetness exhibited by the lovers-their concern, their affection and their deep abiding love.

Love and laughter make this book a joy to recommend.

--Linda Mowery

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