Duets 56

Duets #40

Moonstruck in Manhattan
by Cara Summers
(Harl.Tempt. #860, $3.99, R) 0-373-25960-3
Chelsea Brockway wants to write for a major magazine. She has just signed a contract to write a series of articles about whether a skirt can be a man magnet. This is not just any skirt. One of her friends got the skirt on an island where the women created it in a special way and believe that the wearer of the skirt will attract all sorts of men including the perfect one. Chelsea does not believe it, but successfully pitches the articles based on testing the skirt and reporting the results to the readers.

Zach McDaniels, with the help of his favorite aunt, has just become the new CEO of Metropolitan magazine. She tries to convince him that his recently deceased father wanted it that way, but Zach knows that his father never approved of him or his career choices. Ever since his childhood, he wanted to end up running the magazine and follow in his father's footsteps, but no encouragement came from Dad. Even his stuffy older brother, who is running for a political office, expects Zach to screw up and damage the McDaniels' name.

Zach has strong opinions about the direction he wants to take the magazine and he has a hard time convincing the senior staff who worked for his father to cooperate. He also wants to dump the "fluff" articles, even though they have helped increase the circulation in the last few months. He thinks that he can simply pay off the contract that Ms. Brockway signed, but Chelsea has other ideas. She wants the exposure so that she can attract the attention of other editors and knows that her planned articles will do that.

The first time Zach sees Chelsea is before he knows that she is the writer whose contract he plans to cancel. She is at the bar of a restaurant and some guy has his hands all over her. He has a sudden urge to deck the man with the hands who is in reality Chelsea's gay roommate and a budding fashion designer. Zach is shocked at his uncharacteristic reaction and even more shocked when she arrives in his office as a writer. Chelsea challenges Zach to let her write the articles and he reluctantly agrees, but decides that while she is out in public in that skirt that he should be with her. Since a number of near-miss accidents begin to happen and then escalate into vandalism at her apartment, she is reluctantly agrees.

So goes the adventures of Chelsea and Zach. This is the first of a three-book, three-author mini-series call "Single in the City" about the effects of the skirt on three friends in three different cities. The silly skirt premise is difficult to believe. I could have enjoyed the opposites attract theme without this. There is nothing new here, but both Chelsea and Zach are likable people. The danger aspect was handled fairly well. Several possible suspects were presented, so I didn't figure it out too quickly.

There are references to Christmas because the book is set at that time of year. Both Chelsea and Zach have difficult memories attached to Christmas, so part of the story involves trying to replace the bad memories with good ones.

While I know that this type of series book needs a theme around which to connect the stories, the skirt is just too gimmicky. The background of the skirt is not very clear. I hope a series with magic teddies doesn't appear next.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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