Reading Between the Lines

Author: Vicki Lewis Thompson, Leslie Kelly

Publisher: Harlequin

Release Date: January 2004

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: print

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Candace Johnson, soon to become known as Candy Valentine, has won a career-launching contest for unpublished authors and is going to New York City for the announcement of the winner and to promote the book. As thrilled as Candy is about this, there is a slight problem. Candy Valentine is really Jack Killigan. Terrified that the publisher will not want the book once it is revealed that Candy is really Jack, he convinces his best friend, Krysta Luekenhoff, to pretend to be Candy. Krysta is happy for Jack and agrees to help him. She feels that, with his laid back personality, he will not get the best deal for his book without her help. She has no idea that she is actually the inspiration for all of the "luscious" love scenes in his book. However, Jack has high hopes that before they leave New York there will be no doubt in her mind from where his inspiration originates.

This first story in READING BETWEEN THE LINES is a reprint of Ms. Thompson’s twenty-fifth Temptation novel, MR. VALENTINE, and the one that her mind always turns to when asked to name her favorite. I definitely understand that sentiment. Jack Killigan is as close to perfect as a man can be. He is rugged and full of testosterone yet sensitive enough to write the most tender and sexy love scenes imaginable. The love that he feels for Krysta literally rolls off the pages and into your heart. The glimpse inside a new author’s mind, especially a male romance author, is both humorous and insightful, adding just a little something extra to a classic romance.

In the second story of this anthology Leslie Kelly takes us back to Derryville, Illinois and the fascinating Winchester family, where we discover that Sophie Winchester is leading a double life. By day she is a sweet, prim and proper church secretary. She spends her nights thinking of the most horrendous ways possible to murder people and hide the bodies without getting caught. Why? Her alter ego, R. F. Colt, is "the fastest rising star of the horror fiction world" with "his" novels. Sophie hates the lie that she is forced to live but is not willing to sacrifice the privacy and contentment of her small hometown, which she is sure would be the result if the world discovered the truth of her pseudonym. Thanks to an icy sidewalk, a Cujo look-alike and the towns sexy new Police Chief, Daniel Fletcher, she may be forced to reveal her secret.

Daniel is trying very hard to adjust to his new life in small town America, but has to admit to some feelings of restlessness and boredom, until he sees Sophie. Sophie knows the minute their eyes connect through the store window that she is in big trouble where this man is concerned. Daniel immediately feels the connection to Sophie and is determined to get to know her better. When a notebook with carefully laid out plans to kill her is discovered his protective instinct kicks into high gear and he vows to move heaven and Earth to keep her safe. He acknowledges that his fierce desire for her safety stems not only from her being a woman living in the town that he is sworn to protect but because he has plans for her to be HIS woman.

In THRILL ME, Leslie Kelly pens a tantalizing story that left me shaking my head and thinking, oh yeah I can just see that happening to me. Sophie’s "sweet" outer appearance hides a witty, sarcastic and truly believable heroine. I particularly loved the way Ms. Kelly developed the story by striking an instant spark, but then lets the romance slowly come to life. Leslie Kelly writes with a matchless combination of sexiness and sassiness that makes every story a keeper. I absolutely cannot wait to see what she has in store for us with her upcoming single title that will feature Sophie’s brother, Mick.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Missy Andrews

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