Beguiled
by Lori Foster, contemporary (1999)
Harlequin, $6.99, ISBN 0-373-83412-8

One of two stories, the other being The Private Eye by Jayne Ann Krentz


Oh momma. Mama mia. Talk about slow burn and self-combustion. I always love a dark, predatory, and tenacious hero who will do anything to keep his loved ones safe. A hero who could kill but you know you can trust him with your very heart and soul. Nothing gives me the chilly-willies than a good ol' sexy rugged hero like Dane Carter.

Dane Carter is a PI who is very good at what he does. When his twin brother Derek is killed under fishy circumstances, he poses as Derek to find out the truth behind Derek's murder/accident and destroy the son of a bug who is responsible. He is especially intrigued by a letter from a woman whom Derek has taken advantage of mercilessly.

Turns out that the woman is Angel Morris. Angel was the secretary in a company Derek was planning to takeover, and Derek has taken her company's private information for his own gain and worse, publicly humiliate her before firing her after he has succeeded. Now, she is destitute as no one is willing to employ a woman reputed to be disloyal to her employers. She also has a child from her affair with Derek. And someone is stalking her and leaving nasty messages over the phone. Angel fears that the powerful Carters would take her baby from her, but she nonetheless turns to Derek out of desperation.

Only, of course, Derek isn't Derek. But if anything, the chemistry between them is only increased tenfold. It's not a explosion - it's a nuclear holocaust. These two almost did it on the office table moments of their meeting. I'm not kidding.

Dane is a man who is always appalled at the mercenary nature of his family, and now, he wants nothing more than to make things right for Angel. He is also very, very, very, very, very attracted to this woman, even more after he recognizes her strength and will as being equal to his. Talk about a wonderful fantasy hero. Dane is man who refuses to let anything come between him and Angel, even if he has to be someone else, even if he has to move mountains and part oceans. How wonderful! I'm totally hooked. I want one Dane Carter for my own. Now.

Angel is a rather fine heroine in her own right too, although I must say she unwillingness to clear matters upfront can be irritating. But no matter. She's not too bad as a heroine, in fact, she's brainy and bighearted and a perfect Candidate Number Two for Dane.

There is a weak point in this story though. The whole Big Conspiracy hinges on a letter in April's postbox. A letter. In this modern era, I'd think secret files and documents on paper would be obsolete. Why didn't April's secretive former employer just hand her a disc or send her an e-mail? Why didn't these people just fax April? Instead of leaving trails of papers around?

No matter really. The hero is simply perfect, a nice blend of protective macho superhero and tender lover. There is enough sexual tension to fog up every glass in my house, and enough meat in the plot to keep me going after all the heavy breathing has finished.

Now, I'm going to grab my handbag and dash off to the bookstore. Lori Foster is a rare find indeed. Sexy heroes and lots of sizzling attraction and intrigue - honey, if that isn't a recipe for divine entertainment, I don't know what is.

Rating: 87


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