by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (2010, reissue)
Bantam, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-553-59251-1
Otherwise Engaged was previously released in 1996 as a Loveswept category romance. It has no-nonsense Molly Cassidy sparring with blond billionaire sex god Preston Seaholm first over his offering to buy Molly's house and land and later over when and where they will get to see each other naked. Since Pres is an Eligible Bachelor celebrity hounded by pesky tabloid reporters all over the place, he invents an engagement out of the blue to escape their attention. So what better way than to ask Molly to pose as his -
Okay, here I confess I roll up my eyes and go, "Jeez, are they kidding?!" There's even a kid of Molly to crank up the Hallmark hour. But there's denying the inherent chemistry between Molly and Pres. They're like a lump of potassium block thrown into a beaker of water - ka-boom! No matter how tired the plot gets - and towards the end, those two are so nuts about each other they go to extremes just to maintain their fake engagement, can you believe that? - the characters are always winning.
And I find myself crying when Pres cries over poor Zander's deteriorating hearing. When he barges into the room telling Molly he is buying Zander all the music the boy wants (Zander loves music passionately), I cheer "You go, you wonderful man you!" even as I sniffle into my hankie.
Here's Pres, who gives up smoking and does everything his zillions of dollars can do for Molly and Zander (trust me, he can do a lot) - he may as well have Great Catch stamped all over his hunky chest. Molly's a bit dense as she keeps protesting "No, you can't buy this for Zander! No, you can't teach him diving - it's too dangerous!" but she's not that bad as far as contemporary category heroines go. But Pres and Zander - *sigh*
Otherwise Engaged may be as tired as an old geezer after a 100-lap race, but it still succeeds in emotionally resonating with me. When I cry in what is actually a lighthearted romance, well, that's a sign that I've been reading a very good book.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
Search for more reviews of works by this author: