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~Runaway Bay~

by Lisa Hendrix

      Heroine:  plump/buxom

      Methodical medical researcher Dr. Jackie Barnett has been looking forward to her Caribbean getaway with her boyfriend, Ben.  She's been packing, checking and double-checking her lists a full 36 hours before having to leave.  Everything is coming together in clockwork fashion, except for one tiny detail:  Ben has just left Jackie a message on her voicemail backing out of the vacation . . . and the relationship altogether!  He just can't take anymore of her "stick-in-the-mud" uptight attitude.

       Mortally wounded, as well as unnerved by the notion of taking the trip by her lonesome, she attempts to salvage from the travel agent whatever she can of the major finances she's invested.  But her boss Walt vetoes Jackie's plans to back out when he discovers that Phelps grant sponsor Farley Phelps will be vacationing at that same spot, and he orders Jackie to get down there and win that million dollar grant for their lab!

     Reade Hunter is fit to be tied.  His erstwhile, long-distance, scientific nemesis is making a covert move to secure the Phelps Foundation grant.  But Reade is a fighter and doesn't plan on making things easy for the conniving Dr. Barnett.  In a whirlwind, he packs up his hypochondriac of a mother and heads to St. Sebastian to try and get the jump on his "esteemed" colleague.

      But Dr. Hunter's hopes of winning the grant waver when he discovers his curvaceous competition clad in a mere scrap of a sundress, and he's overcome with the certain belief that his enemy is playing dirty.  He is desperate to find the means to combat Jackie and her use of her feminine wiles on Farley Phelps to get her way.  To make matter worse, handsome Reade is chagrined to find that he is in far more danger from those wiles than Phelps is!

      With the rules anyone's guess and no referee in sight, who will come out the winner in this game of secrets, lies, and lust?

      What worked for me:

      I sure can relate to Jackie's feelings about creepy-crawly critters. And I really enjoyed watching her transformation from a wet blanket to a wild woman.  (Well, she didn't get that wild, but she at least let her hair down and took off that invisible lab coat that she always seemed to wear.)

     For the most part I liked the secondary romance, as well.  It's always nice to see older women get their fair share of loving too.

      Size-wise Jackie began the story as a size 18 conservatively-dressed frump.  By the end of the story she had discovered a new, more flattering style of dress.  (She also lost a bit of weight, supposedly due to her new active lifestyle, but it didn't really specify how much. Still, for a book that went out of its way to make a point of having a size 18 heroine, it would have suited me just fine if she had just stayed that size.)

What didn't work for me:

       It's always a little iffy to jump into bed with someone just after breaking up with another person. Even if there is major relationship potential, trying to make things work too soon doesn't always pan out.  (Why else do women on the dating  scene warn friends away from recently heartbroken men?  "No, you don't want that guy.  He's on the rebound!")

       On the other hand, the wrap-up of the book (which was somewhat predictable and manipulated) certainly addressed that point by swinging to the other extreme.  Personally, I thought that leaving things hanging between the happy couple for an entire year while the heroine went off incommunicado to "find herself", was a bit too long.  Even if we're talking soul mates here, when a person does something like that she runs the risk of losing her loved one to another.     


      This story was a cute, quick read with a bit of humor, suspense, and hot sex sprinkled throughout its pages.

Warning: there are some steamy passages in this book.

If you liked "Runaway Bay"  you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "Baby at His Convenience""Some Girls Do", "Midsummer Lightning", "Lady Blue", "The Librarian's Passionate Knight", "Born to be Wild", "Dear Cupid", "His E-mail Order Wife", "The Bridesmaid's Reward", "Carried Away", "His Seductive Revenge", "Looking for Laura", "It Had to Be You", "This Heart of Mine", "Too Much Temptation",  or "Say You're Mine".

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