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~Welcome to Temptation~

by Jennifer Crusie

      Heroine:    lush, voluptuous

     Temptation, Ohio, the tiny town that has it all:  secrets, greed, blackmail, adultery, dirty politics, and a highly-phallic water tower. What better place for a filmmaker to shoot a documentary about a "porn star" returning to her roots?

      Wedding videographer Sophie Dempsey, the only straight-laced member of a family of felons, is determined to make a decent life for herself-- even if the sheer boredom kills her!  Had she known the trials and tribulations which awaited her in Temptation, she might have fled the scene as soon as she arrived.  Having once been emotionally scarred by a preppy "town boy", Sophie wants nothing to do with Temptation's Ivy League-type mayor, who insists on playing handyman around the farmhouse where they are filming.  And the added headache of dealing with the actors' egos and her baby sister's antics is making Sophie absolutely crazy!

      Phineas T. Tucker, low-key politician who'd rather be playing pool, running his bookstore, and raising his daughter, is tired.  Tired of living with his harridan of a mother.  Tired of stepping into the breach between warring townsfolk.  Tired of being tired.  When Sophie Dempsey and her sister breeze into town to film an audition tape for Clea Whipple (a woman whose cleavage landed a much younger Phin in the emergency room for stitches in his chin), the mayor gets the feeling that the director is "devil's candy", bad trouble he should stay away from.  But his best friend police chief Wes wants to put the moves on Amy Dempsey, Sophie's "ex-juvie" little sister, and the mayor finds himself tagging along on a double date just to keep big sister Sophie occupied and out of the way.  What began as an altruistic gesture of friendship soon goes awry, and Phin finds he's drawn to this girl from the wrong side of the tracks-- and wants her bad.

      Bad enough to shirk his mayoral duties during election time.  Bad enough to defy his "first-lady-of-the-town" mother's wishes.  Bad enough to cover for Sophie when a dead body turns up and her name is on the short list of suspects!

      What worked for me:

      As always Ms. Crusie can be counted on to supply the reader with lots of romances to root for, witty one-liners, sizzling sex scenes (though they may not be lurid enough for romance readers who want the play-by-play), and an unusual cast of characters. This time around there's the nutty council of a dysfunctional town, washed-up thespians, a depressed porn king, and a seriously-dead corpse who knows the meaning of the phrase "overkill'.  And, as always, there's the requisite ugly dog.

      Sophie had a strong sense of self and was, I thought, a very likeable gal.   I loved the scene where she set Phin's frosty mother straight during their little chat together.  And I adored how things turned out for her in the end!

     Size-wise, Sophie sounded like she was at the voluptuous end of average.

What didn't work for me:    

     I read the sequel "Faking It" first, so my perception of "Welcome to Temptation" may be somewhat different than those of folks who read the two books in order. 

     There were a lot of movie and music references in "Welcome to Temptation", but not quite so many as in "Faking It" where I thought it went overboard.

      It would have been nice if Sophie had broken things off with her boyfriend before getting involved with Phin.  (Especially, I suppose, from the boyfriend's point-of-view.)

     I had to suspend my disbelief somewhat when it came to the murder investigation.  And while it could be said that the killer was brought to some level of justice, it irked me that the police never became aware of what had truly taken place.

     As a side note:  I can deal with a twenty year old girl getting involved with a rake in a Regency better than I can a twenty year old girl in a contemporary getting together with a porn king.  Don't ask me why; I have no answer for this.


      Wickedly tempting with its moments of comic brilliance, sizzling sex, and (though it starts late in the game) an interesting mystery, "Welcome to Temptation" makes a great bubble bath book.  Be sure to snag a copy of "Faking It" as well!

     Warning: There are some spicy love scenes and some coarse language in this story.

     If you liked "Welcome to Temptation", you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "Faking It", "Crazy For You", "Fast Women", The "Stephanie Plum" mystery series, "Dating Dead Men", "Plum Girl", "Blushing Pink", "Switcheroo", "Princess Charming", "Infernal Affairs", "It Had to be You""This Heart of Mine", or "Dear Cupid".

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I love you and will miss you forever.


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