Colin Lyons has returned home to a complete mess. His adopted father, Joe, runs a newspaper, a newspaper that has been known for its integrity in the hard news department. But when Joe falls ill, his new wife Corrine decides to take the newspaper over-and begins to run the paper her own way. Suddenly the hard news is being replaced by what Colin calls "fluff" pieces: advice columns, columns on romance and even matchmaking schemes, and Colin won't have it! He owes Joe so much more, but saving the paper from the unscrupulous Corrine is a good place to start. The newspapers biggest advertiser has threatened to pull out, taking all of their financial support with them if the paper doesn't return to its former self. Colin has until the beginning of the New Year to set everything to rights. Since Corrine won't listen to reason, it's up to Colin to take matters into his own hands. He'll start by cozying up to the newest employee at the paper, sexy Rina Lowell. He has heard that Rina and Corrine are close, so Colin thinks he may be able to sway Rina to his side, acquire her assistance in bringing Corrine to her senses before the paper goes down forever. Of course, this would mean that Rina would lose her job, but Colin is sure he can help her find another. All that matters is Joe and the paper-or that's what Colin tells himself in the beginning. Suddenly nothing seems to be as important as the alluring Rina.
Rina Lowell has come to the town of Ashford to start over. After her husband's death, Rina was secure but didn't want to return to her job as a secretary. She wanted to do something different with her life, something fun. Combining her childhood passion for writing and her knowledge and interest in people in general, Rina becomes a columnist for Corrine's paper. Her column explores the issues between men and women, most importantly, what do men want? Rina is determined to find out and sets about researching the topic diligently. She comes to town initially as a somewhat quiet woman in non-descript clothing. Rina plans to document the changes in the men around her when she turns from frumpy columnist to all out sex kitten. When Colin Lyons comes back to help run the paper, Rina takes one look at him decides he should be the main focus of her research. That and the fact the Rina is ready to take life head on, have fun and experience everything it has to offer. She's spent too much of her life worrying about everyone else, she's ready to concentrate on making herself happy. And she knows it would make her very happy to have a fun fling with sexy Colin Lyons. But fun and meaningless soon turns to so much more than Rina is prepared for and she begins to trust Colin. But will she trust what they have together when she learns about his ulterior motives in pursuing her in the first place?
It's nice to see the female protagonist be the one who is doing most of the seducing instead of the hero. It proves what a strong woman Rina can be, which makes the predicament she finds herself in with Colin all the more confusing for her. She wants to be strong enough to do things on her own for once, but she finds herself drawn to Colin in ways she never has before. Both characters have trust issues that they must work through before they can begin to truly understand each other. Colin's issues are deeply rooted in his childhood, starting when his parents died. These issues combined with a failed marriage and guilt over not being there for Joe when he needed Colin most-Colin has a lot to work through and he needs the love of a woman. Luckily Rina is just the right woman for him and you know if they can both work through the troubles that have been plaguing them for so long and learn to let go and trust in each other they'll find that happily ever after they both are so deserving of.
SIMPLY SEXY is full of the trademark humor and sensuality that Carly Phillips is known for. Her characters are enigmatic and entertaining, especially aging matchmaker Emma Montgomery. While I haven't read the other book or books Emma has appeared in, I'm sure she made them just as fun and colorful as she helped to make this book. Carly Phillips can always be counted on for a fun, deliciously sensual romance and her latest offering does not disappoint. Filled with enjoyable characters and a humorous storyline, SIMPLY SEXY is quite simply a fabulous holiday treat. So curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and enter the sexy, sensual world of Carly Phillips.
Carla Hosom, November 2002
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