by Lyric James, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-514-4
The Tempted in Lyric James' Thoroughly Tempted refers to the spa co-owned by our heroine Sierra Morgan. Our hero, Wesley Duncan, is a cop currently forced to go on medical leave due to a gunshot wound he had received while doing his thing. His cousin Jennifer co-owns Tempted along with Sierra and he decides to head over there on Jennifer's advice. You see, at that moment the only person at Tempted is Sierra, thus there will be plenty of privacy for Duncan to recuperate at leisure. I'm sure you can guess what will happen at Tempted.
Thoroughly Tempted is an interracial romance (Wesley is white, Sierra is African-American), but race doesn't factor at all in this relationship so I won't even know that the hero and the heroine have different skin color were not for the cover. I like this. At any rate, both Wesley and Jennifer are very likable characters that feel pretty real for all the limitation in characterization that is to expected in this novella-length story. The chemistry between them is sizzling, which is of course always a good thing. Also, I like how Ms James doesn't make the characters too angst-ridden. In fact, both characters, realistically, start off not really looking for a relationship but once they decide that they are in love, they don't fight the feeling.
Sure, the characters may decide that they are in love way too soon, but this is a short story so I suppose that can't be helped. At any rate, this one is a well-paced and satisfyingly complete short story with characters that are very likable and as real as they can be under the circumstances. I really can't help but to be Thoroughly Tempted.
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