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Tangled Sheets

Truth or Dare by Jo Leigh
(Harl. Blaze #88, $5.25, R) ISBN 0-373-79092-9
Truth or Dare is the story of two people who start out in heat and end up in love, a familiar plot for much of the Blaze line. Kudos to Jo Leigh for trying to, um, flesh out her characters a bit rather than simply writing a sex marathon. In the end, the heroine was just fine, but the hero gave me some problems.

Megan Hodges is an assistant to a designer at a New York fashion house. What she really wants is to start her own line of clothing, a dream she’s saving toward. She’d also like a steady guy, but in her experience, men don’t go for women with a twisted leg and a limp, the result of a long-ago car accident. Megan decides to throw caution to the winds and splurge on a hot affair while on vacation. Her plan? She’ll have a fake cast put on her leg and head for a ski resort.

Megan’s plan kicks into high gear when she meets Luke Webster, a former Olympic ski hopeful turned stockbroker. Luke has plans of his own, which include amassing a fortune and retiring early. His normal kind of woman is a ski bunny who’s in it for the sex, not a relationship, which suits him fine. When he meets Megan, however, and they share a dinner and an evening of easy conversation, Luke is intrigued. Even more so when Megan suggests a game of Truth or Dare that ends up back in his hotel room.

They agree it’s short-term, and when Megan’s week is up and she returns to New York, she figures that’s it. The game is over, the cast comes off, and she’s back to being regular Megan, leg brace and all. Until Luke finds he can’t get her off his mind and sets out to find her…

Megan, with her completely understandable insecurities, worked like a charm. Perhaps it’s because we spend so much time in her head, but she’s completely believable, working in an industry where physical perfection is prized and living with a flawed body. Luke, on the other hand, appears to have shallowness down to an art form. He muses that his usual women aren’t much for conversation, but wow, Megan can really interact with him. Luke seems to have no purpose in life beyond skiing, getting laid, and making a lot of money. He just didn’t hold my interest, and his shift in feelings toward Megan never felt authentic. I thought she deserved someone with a bit more depth.

The sex is plenty hot and graphic. For the most part, though, it’s just hot sex. Feh. Note to Harlequin editors: anyone can get laid, and in graphic terms to boot. Where’s the romance? These two pretty much exhausted their repertoire before they began to admit there might be more than just sex here.

Okay, so the sex is supposed to be the big selling point of the Blaze line, and here it was more of a page-filler, though done very well. That says a lot for the story that Jo Leigh had going. I wanted to know how these two were going to work this out, when Luke was going to develop some introspection, and how they’d address her leg injury. Truth or Dare is worth a look, but oddly enough, it’s not for the heat factor. Check it out for the excellent plot, and if you like steamy sex scenes, consider those a bonus.

--Cathy Sova

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