by Lynn Emery, contemporary (2002)
Harper, $6.50, ISBN 0-380-81305-X
Lynn Emery's second book for Harper, Tell Me Something Good, is a fun contemporary romance featuring two characters whose sexual chemistry can power rocket engines judging from its potency. The sagging middle does a lot of damage to the story, but the emotionally satisfying late leg of the story almost makes up for it.
Lyrissa Rideau is an art evaluator - she looks at ugly paintings and tells people they are worth a few million dollars, that sort of thing - and she steps into the St Denis manor to catalog and evaluate their huge collection of antiques. She also has a secret agenda, however. She believes that the St Denis has stolen a painting from her family, and now she will steal it back for her voodoo-crazy Aunt Claire and Mama Grace. See, once her family was as grand and proud as the St Denis, but now, ugh ugh ugh.
It's just too bad that that naughty grandson of her boss, Noel St Denis, is giving her the horny eye, so to speak. Oh dear. But when things start to go out of control, and some embezzlement issues come into play, what is poor Lyrissa to do?
I find it odd and even disconcerting that nobody here blinks an eye when Noel, a playboy, puts the move on Lyrissa, a woman in his employment, on her first day of work and his advances continue relentlessly from thereon. Don't they invent the phrase "sexual harassment" for cases such as this? Lyrissa isn't exactly willing as much as she is annoyed as well, so I do feel disturbed by this unprofessional (to say the least) behavior from Noel and Lyrissa's not stopping him. Sure, she says she cares for her "reputation", but Lyssie dear, let me teach you a new word: lawsuit.
But if I overlook this aspect of the plot, I will find that Noel and Lyssie do have lots of healthy sparks and chemistry. The author has done well in creating great sexual tension between those two, and even better, by the end of the book, I know these two like each other as much as they lust after each other's perfect body. But most of the middle part of this book is devoted to a monotonous cycle of lust-want-kisses-interruptus-repeat-repeat. It gets to a point where I get really tired and want them to do something about their horny bone already.
But the last leg of the book is very good - I like how issues like family loyalty and trust come into play, and I especially love how Noel will stand by Lyssie when she's in trouble. Lyssie is a smart one too - she can take care of herself (when she's in trouble with the law, the first thing she does is to call her lawyer) and there is no contrived pure/virgin nonsense in her social life.
Despite problems with pacing and the use of what is basically a sexual harassment lawsuit of a premise to get the ball rolling, Tell Me Something Good has fun lead characters whose chemistry make the whole story most enjoyable. Smart leads, a nice love story, and a... well, decent plot makes this one indeed a telling of something good.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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