Good Girls Do!

Private Lessons

Seducing Sullivan

Insatiable by Julie Elizabeth Leto
(Harl. Tempt. #835, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-25935-2
Okay, here’s the deal. If you can read this short synopsis of this story without rolling your eyeballs so hard that you risk a serious sprain, add one “heart” to the above rating and judge your wish to read the book accordingly.

Samantha Deveaux is the daughter of famous movie director Devlin Deveaux and Endora, a “world-reknowned medium.” When her parents divorced she asked to live with her father to look after him - and because she was anxious “to see the world…to live on location and mingle with the stars.” Sam was five.

To get her narcissistic father’s attention, Sam had small children’s roles in his movies. Later she became a stunt double, working only in her father’s films. She also dated some of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs, and “met and mingled with every male celebrity ever chosen as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.” She also lived with Anthony Marks, “the biggest cardiac arrester of them all” before realizing that their relationship was just physical.

Now, at 28, she’s back in New Orleans near her mother and sister. She has given four “professions” in six months her very best shot, and now wants to be a bodyguard. Fortunately, her new brother-in-law just happens to be starting a personal security firm and is in a position to grant her heart’s desire, a career “whose main benefit would be excitement.”

Already on the payroll, she’s occupying herself until he returns from his honeymoon by getting her concealed weapons permit, taking bodyguard courses (such as “how to disarm a crazed stalker”) over the Internet, and spending her brother-in-law’s petty cash, rent and utilities money on high-tech surveillance gadgets. This poor girl is so shallow you can see through her.

Bored by her temporary job as a security guard at a big SuperMarketing Expo, Sam starts fantasizing heavily about the “pencil-drawn hottie” on the label of the LaRocca Foods spaghetti sauce in the booth across the aisle from her post. As luck would have it, the “Pasta God” turns out to be CEO Dominick LaRocca, who shows up at the booth to make a presentation.

Livening up Sam’s life considerably, Nick’s arrival causes a riot among the female patrons of the Expo, requiring Sam to rescue him. Seems that, totally without his knowledge, his grannies, who are joint chairwomen of the LaRocca board of directors, conspired to put the highly flattering picture of him on the new label. Oh yes, and they also “included some rather clever copy lamenting his single marital status and celebrating his estimated net worth.” As a result, he’s mobbed wherever he goes.

See, his dear old grannies refuse to hand over control of the company to Nick until he’s married. Unfortunately, if they die before he settles down, oops, the company that he built from the ground up gets parceled out in bits to various family members.

Sam convinces Nick to hire her - without license or experience - as his personal bodyguard. In addition to her Internet studies, Sam had bodyguards all her life, so she knows what they do! Nick has an even better idea. While she’s guarding him, she can pose as his lover! His grannies will back off and all the desperate women in the world will realize he’s taken and leave him alone!

This book just never stopped insulting my intelligence. Hey - I enjoy a whimsical what-if scenario as much as the next person, but this ludicrous parallel universe had absolutely no contact with the space/time dimension I live in.

Worse, all the convoluted nonsense required so much explanation that the entire story ground to a halt every couple of pages or so for paragraphs and sometimes pages of narrative to justify virtually every motivation either character had. It also meant that, with no momentum and no emotional connection with the characters, the consummation, when we finally got to it, wasn’t romantic and certainly didn’t have the “heat” promised on the cover. By then, it was just a detailed and rather clinical description of two people having sex.

Maybe this sounds like your kind of wacky, over the top fun. Me, I have to stop before my eyes get stuck like this.

--Judi McKee

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