Breathing Room
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
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Breathing Room
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
400 pages
April 2003
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Dr. Isabel Favor came from a childhood she despised. To get through college, she did anything and everything from cleaning to waiting tables to pay the bills. She doesn't think she has to worry about the money now, though. Isabel has a healthy bank account, scheduled lecture tours, and another book coming out soon.

But she also has an embezzler for a business manager and a tax bill that is going to destroy her dream. Her coined phrase, "Four Cornerstones of a Favorable Life," which includes Healthy Relationships, Professional Pride, Financial Responsibility, and Spiritual Dedication, is about to topple. No one will believe a word she says now that her own life is in a shambles. Isabel is going to be left with absolutely nothing.

On the other side of the world, Lorenzo Gage is watching his latest movie. He is the most sought after movie star, playing rapists, serial killers, and assassins. The public wants Ren. He is offered jobs others covet, but he still wants more. So now, in light of his girlfriend's suicide, Ren is in Italy to soak up the atmosphere before filming of a new movie begins and hopefully to clear his guilt, for he feels responsible for her death. Even though Ren knows he tried to help her, the public always loves a drama and will pin the blame on anyone -- even those who are not at fault.

He really just wants to lie low and let the media forget. Besides, he could live with just his company for a few weeks. That is, until he meets Isabel.

From that moment, Ren wants to be with this woman who constantly dissects his mind. In order to remain anonymous so he can go out in public, Ren devises interesting costumes. Although it seems to keep his fans away, Isabel isn't so lucky. She constantly has to put up with his snide remarks and sexual innuendos.

In the midst of their brewing affair, a mystery is taking place at the farmhouse Isabel is renting. The tale they hear is unbelievable. Ren knows someone is lying, and he plans on finding out for himself just why they are digging on his property. On top of this, Ren's ex-wife pays an extended visit that is anything but ordinary. Tracy is running from her current husband with four children in tow. When Harry makes an appearance, Ren doesn't know what to think. Fortunately, Isabel knows exactly what to do.

Breathing Room pulls readers in, keeps the plot tight, and the characters totally endearing. The subplots fill any void with suspense as readers await to learn the fate of the Briggs family and the reason the natives are digging on Ren's property. Full of fun Susan Elizabeth Phillips (It Had to Be You, Kiss an Angel) is an accomplished author who has the knack to pull the strings that keep readers guessing until the very end.

© 2003 by Brenda Ramsbacher for Curled Up With a Good Book

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