Baring It All
by Sandra Chastain, contemporary (2000)
Harlequin Temptation, $3.99, ISBN 0-373-25868-2

Meet Lord Sin, a glamorous male stripper who actually gets filthy rich strutting his bootie on stage. Boy, if this is real life, my husband would wish he is thirty years younger and a hundred pounds lighter. So would I wish for myself, for that matter. Lord Sin is actually Ryan Malone (and that name too is actually an alias), a man running away from his past. He has a bad childhood, but that doesn't stop him from building up shelter homes and hospital wings. I'm half in love already.

During Lord Sin's final performance, his steam-o-meter really hits overdrive when his eyes fall on Sunny Clary, a reporter in a shimmery dress that clearly shows she has nothing underneath. Sunny wants to do an expose on Lord Sin, which Ryan couldn't allow, no way. But he does want to get his grubby hands all over Sunny, so what to do?

Easy. Promise Sunny that Ryan can "arrange" her to meet "Lord Sin", and in the meantime, he'll wave that champagne bottle and Lord Sin Scepter Of Glory at the woman until she succumbs.

Ooh baby, pass me the ice bucket and let me shove my head in for a minute. With a title like Baring It All, this story delivers in terms of red hot sensuality. Lord Sin/Ryan is simply yummy, sexy, and he sure is a rogue to remember. Although he's a bit too rich to be real, he's still a wonderful hero, the stuff fantasies are made of.

It's just too bad that the heroine Sunny is trifle annoying. I don't understand her. Firstly, why would she think exposing a stripper's identity would win her the credibility she wants? Hey, Sunny, how about an expose on George Bush, Jr. and Al Gore instead? Now that'd be fun. Also, she takes herself seriously, way too seriously. Boring, really. Why would sexy, seductive rogues even look at such boring, no-life women? Only in category romances, I tell you.

There's a great secondary romance between Sunny's daddy and Ryan's mentor, and all in all Bating It All is a pretty fine read. It's only the heroine that bogs things down a little, and the fact that, gee, does stripping actually gets one that much money? I'd better hit the gym and get out my old thong now. Maybe not.

Rating: 78

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