Monday, January 11, 2010
The title: Santa, Baby
The author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publication: Avon, 2009
Got it from: DC, Xmas 2009
Pity the poor cover model for this book. First, she had to put on a ridiculous Mrs. Claus suit (which, by the way, was not in the book). Then the cover artist clearly whittled away her waist to almost nothing and stretched her neck to twice its normal length. No wonder she looks like she's wincing in pain.
But don't judge this book too much by its cover. Though it started out meh for me, it definitely got better a few chapters in. The story, part of the "Dressed to Thrill" series, is about a woman named Caron (I think it's just pronounced Karen?), a meek and mild bookstore owner who gets the chance to dress up as Audrey Hepburn for a charity event. But plumbing problems keep plaguing her (metaphor! metaphor!) and she shows up too late - in a pink sweatsuit. This was the only part of the book that really bothered me. Who wears a pink sweatsuit, except scary Housewives of Orange County type people? At the event, she bumps into Baxter Remington, the heir to the Remington Coffee fortune, and he falls for her, pink sweatsuit and all. Because she's late, she's given the role of Marilyn Monroe instead.
And we all know where this is going. Feeling confident in her sexy alter ego, Caron and Baxter flirt and finally seduce each other. But wait! He can't get her out of his head. He's embroiled in a legal scandal and she's the only person he can trust. Meanwhile, she's still not sure if he's into the real Caron or her sexy alter ego.
This book got much better once the silliness of the costume business was over with. At first, the characters seemed like generic, stock stereotypes: the mousy woman with the girly job! The ruthless business tycoon! The man-hating FBI agent on their tail! Then, as Baxter and Caron got to talk and know each other better, the story began to feel more real and fleshed out.
I didn't like this one as much as the other Harlequin Blaze I read last year, Slow Hands, but it was a breezy, fun read at a little over 200 pages. As an aside, I have to say I find the Blaze line to be overall superior to its Harlequin kin.