FiancÚ for the Night
by Melissa McClone
(Silh. Yours Truly 90, $3.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-52090-5
***
FiancÚ for the Night has a clever play on words, ad copy located on the back blurb. Cassandra needed a knight in shining armor . . . She got a McKnight in shining Armani.

It seems that Cassandra Daniels has gotten herself into a fix. She's impulsively told her parents she's engaged, hoping that their matchmaking plans would be quelled. Now they want to meet Mr. Right. Cassandra walks up to Troy McKnight and asks, point blank, "Would you be my fiancÚ?" Cassandra is looking at the pickings at the local microbrewery and decides that Troy will suit nicely . . . for one dinner with her parents.

Troy agrees to Cassandra's scheme. He'll meet her parents, pretend to be lovey-dovey and then his boy scout good deed will be over. Isn't there always a kink in the plans? Troy is involved in venture capital, and wouldn't you know it, Cassandra's father is the King of the VC hill. This coincidence had me silently saying, "Of all the gin joints. . ." Now both Troy and Cassandra know that their engagement may blow up in Troy's face. If it becomes known that he's dallying with the daughter of the King, he can watch his career go down the drain.

Cassandra's dad is so taken with Troy that he invites the couple to spend the weekend in Carmel, with golfing for Troy and shopping for a wedding dress for Cassandra. Oh, joy! Have both of them been hoisted by that proverbial petard?

For much of the story, we're dealing with the flake and the square. Eschewing a high-pressure career which gave her no pleasure, Cassandra now runs a homey book store. She knows that she doesn't want to be the wife of a mover and shaker, which is what Troy will be if he continues on his chosen path. Troy is attracted to Cassandra in spite of her seeming inability to be a corporate wife.

There's a secondary plot dealing with Cassandra's fraternal twin Emily and Emily's new husband, a man who until recently was Cassandra's fiancÚ. His betrayal is what led Cassandra to deceive her parents initially, knowing that they thought that she was heartbroken. I did find it farfetched for Cassandra to blame Troy for his interest in her father's firm. She's the one who approached him. To even consider collusion seems absurd.

FiancÚ for the Night is a fun book. There's subtle sexual tension between the two that makes for tempting reading. While both characters are lightweight and Cassandra's transition from high powered executive to earth child doesn't ring true, the story flows smoothly. My only complaint is that it's a bit too predictable. New author Melissa McClone has a bright future. Her first book has enough polish that her future books ought to shine.

--Linda Mowery


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