Bayou Bad Boys
By Jennifer Wardrip
May 1, 2006 - 1:11:00 PM

I've always loved JoAnn Ross's writing style. She has a very distinctive voice, and it shines through loud and clear in CAJUN HEAT. For Gabriel Broussard, leaving his hometown of Blue Bayou was the answer to his prayers. He couldn't wait to hightail it out of there all those years ago, and he's certainly made the best of his time away from home. An actor with all the fame, fortune, and money a guy could ask for, he's been living his dreams-until two dates with a world-renowned actress somehow turned into an "engagement" and then was broken due to his quote-unquote "addiction to kinky sex." What was kinky were the pairs of underwear getting thrown over the gates of his estate, but Gabe can't really complain. What he can do is turn his back on the press who are hounding him and head back to Blue Bayou for some rest, relaxation, and recovery

Except Blue Bayou still has one thing he's never forgotten-Emma Quinlan. As soon as Emma lays eyes on the man she's never stopped loving, she knows there's still something between them. Unfortunately, she can't decide if it's unfinished business due to Gabe's leaving all those years ago without a proper goodbye, or the heat and desire she still feels for him. Is there any way at all that a small-town girl at home in the bayou could have a future with one of Hollywood's darlings? She's determined, almost reluctantly, to find out.

Nancy Warren, one of my favorite authors, brings us YOU GIVE ME FEVER, a real humdinger of a story that burns up the pages. Lucy Charles is a history lecturer at the University of Toronto, where she lives. She'd recently began researching her own family's background all the way back to the 1700s, and with thorough investigation had tracked living relatives-however distant-to Louisiana. Determined to have more to include in the family newsletter than recycled recipes, she sets off from Canada to the New Orleans Garden District-and is struck speechless not only by the Tara-like mansion she arrives at, but also by the drop-dead-gorgeous man in the garden who's none other than her very-much removed cousin, Claude LeBlanc. Suddenly, vacationing with very distant relatives while researching family history takes on a whole new meaning-mainly, that of having a fling with the mysterious Claude, the first man in a long, long while to get her juices flowing.

Claude, on the other hand, isn't happy with his mother, Beatrice, who offered their home up as lodging to a virtual stranger. Sure, they're technically related, but to invite a stranger into your home and hand over family secrets seems a bit far-fetched. Until he meets the delectable Lucy, a woman full of passion, mystery, and a head for history. Suddenly, having her in his home is causing all types of complications, and mapping out the family tree is the least of his worries.

E. C. Sheedy brings IN GOOD HANDS to the Bayou-based anthology, and what a pair of hands it is! Dane McCoy lives on Delacroix Island as a personal choice-not too far from New Orleans, but far enough-because he values his privacy and solitude. Housing his sister Marilee's (think Paris Hilton) "best friend" Esme Shane isn't his idea of a good time. A book illustrator, Esme needs one last beach to complete her portfolio for her editor, and Delacroix Island is the perfect place to do so. Dane understands all of that, but he's not happy. Especially when his sister describes Esme as a "mouse", a quiet, unassuming woman who will stay out of his way. Funny, but the Esme Shane he meets when the plane lands is a thirty-nine-year old firecracker who's unbelievably hot.

Esme realizes right away that Marilee has launched another one of her plans. Her brother Dane is not the middle-aged super-nerd hermit with no time for sex that Marilee made him out to be. Dane McCoy is all hot-blooded male, and he's nobody's fool. Neither, for that matter, is she-and as soon as she finds out Marilee's true ulterior motive, that of getting Dane to invest in her latest hair-brained business venture, she plans to hightail it out of Dodge. Unfortunately, she never counted on the near-combustible attraction that would flare up between her and the enigmatic Dane, so she might just end up staying on the Island a bit longer than she'd originally planned.

All in all, BAYOU BAD BOYS is one hot ticket to Louisiana! You don't want to miss this winning collection of Southern stories-or the hotties that grace the pages!

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