No one suspects staid college history professor Molly Shaw to be Sandra St. Claire, the allegedly jet-setting author of the sleazy, swashbuckling bestseller Pirate Gold. Molly’s cheerless academic life is turned topsy-turvy when one day her ambitious journalist friend Carter persuades her, though with great difficulty, to seduce hotel mogul and playboy millionaire Jake Berenger into giving Carter an exclusive interview. Soon Carter, his sister the relationship guru, Elaine, and Molly, dolled up in a busty blonde Sandra avatar arrive at Jake’s Caribbean Gold Bay resort.
Although highly mistrustful, Jake finds the sexy, klutzy Sandra to be strangely attractive but pays her little mind as he is immersed in fending off his mother’s zealous matchmaking attempts while trying to ward off business problems brought about by his growing negative image in the press. But when, as her own plain Molly self, she declares Jake’s million-dollar golf course to be a historical site, she gains his immediate and furious attention. Eventually deceptions are uncovered and new ones arise as Jake convinces Molly to pretend to be his fiancée in order to restore his image as a Family Man. But when the heart is involved, can lies become reality? Or will distrust and a malicious villain win the day?
Melanie Craft’s enjoyable tropical drama captures romance, passion and intrigue against an exotic background of grand opulence, beautiful natural environment and luxurious resort life. The turmoil, secrets, lies and deception which abound in this sultry read are deadly one instant and comically funny the next, engendering a sense of surprise and anticipation with each successive page. Molly, with her plain exterior concealing a razor-sharp mind, is a delight as she bumbles while trying to be a sexpot, and is very complex as she is concealing the truth about her emotions even from herself. Jake appears to be a typical playboy, but his hard work and honest motivations redeem him to be a somewhat worthy, while not idealistic, hero. The romance angle, while natural, isn’t very dominant with the sparring between the protagonists taking the top spot. Overall, wonderfully quirky characters and a humorous and somewhat suspenseful plot make Man Trouble, a compelling and pleasurable reading experience.