If you're a fan of the old Thin Man movies or the Katherine Hepburn/Cary
Grant classic, Bringing Up Baby, then you're going to enjoy the madcap
antics of our lovers. The Naked Truth is Dani Sinclair's first
Temptation; she's written three Harlequin Intrigues. Here's hoping that
NT is the first of many that she writes for the Temptation line.
She's a welcome addition.
Spencer Griffen, our inept thief and hero, thinks that breaking into the
home of Hadden Caldwell Summerton III, art collector extraordinaire, and
stealing a nude painting is supposed to be a snap. Spencer knows that
Summerton will be selling his art collection of nudes and erotica. Spencer
needs to steal a certain nude before its existence becomes common
knowledge. Seeing all the erotic art is a little nonplusing. He doesn't
see the painting he's looking for, but he does find a woman hiding under
Summerton's bed. Spencer mistakenly assumes that the woman is Summerton's
Brenna Wolford is as inept a thief as Spencer Griffen. They're both
searching for the same painting to steal, and they leave their first
meeting without the painting and with the wrong impression of each other.
She's not Summerton's fiancée, and he's most assuredly not a common thief.
Brenna is trying to steal the nude painting, one that her grandfather
painted more than fifty years earlier. At the time, he signed another
man's name on the painting. Now that he's a famous painter, if it becomes
common knowledge that he forged a name, his reputation will be in shreds.
Spencer's reason for wanting to steal the same painting is equally
altruistic. His grandmother, the widow of a world famous evangelist, was
the model for the fifty-year-old painting. She's just been appointed as
the chief spokesperson for a child pornography committee. Spencer knows
that her credibility will be flatter than a highway stripe if it becomes
common knowledge that she once posed nude.
Brenna and Spencer meet again and decide to join forces, although they
haven't told each other their real identities or their true reasons for
wanting the painting. One of their joint attempts has them breaking into a
wall safe. Spencer, seeing all the nude statues and prurient art, decides
that the safe combination must be 36-24-36. He's right! Later the two
have fun as they try to recreate the details of a painting in which the
people have used fruit in a . . . titillating manner.
Gentle is the most appropriate adjective I'd use to describe Spencer. Of
course we've got the obligatory adjectives. He's sexy, successful,
handsome, witty and considerate. Still, his kindness and tenderness seem
to surround him, much like fuzz surrounds a peach. When he takes Brenna to
his apartment, he's chagrined over its condition. Why, I wonder? We women
know that men are messy. Spencer is immediately aware the moment that
Brenna looks past the clutter and notices a box of sex toys, his sisters'
gag gifts for a shower. Although the sex toys make him mighty
uncomfortable, later the padded handcuffs do serve a higher purpose.
"The maid quit," he said desperately.
"I don't blame her."
After he's done a quick spit 'n polish in the bathroom, he sees Brenna
standing in the doorway watching him.
"See? The health department would only give me a warning."
The mystery and intrigue surrounding the elusive painting are done with
finesse and lightness. The ending resolution had me chuckling. Come to
think of it, the overall feel of this book had me chuckling. While the
comedy was breezy, it was never slapstick. My only suggestion for
improvement would be for Brenna to be a bit stronger, more on Spencer's
level. She needs more of his love of life, his joie de vivre.
They're not so mismatched that it slows the relationship, but a bit more of
Hepburn's serendipitous spirit would have increased my appreciation of this
This is one time that crime does pay, with a life sentence. We romance
readers refer to it as Happily Ever After.