The Secret Life of Bryan
Lori Foster
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The Secret Life of Bryan
Lori Foster
298 pages
March 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Once again, Lori Foster provides us with a satisfying read that is both smart, sexy, and fun. Foster, who is known for her witty dialogue and sensual love scenes, does not disappoint in The Secret Life of Bryan.

Lori Foster first introduced bounty hunter Bryan Kelly in the novel Say No To Joe?. His line of work and his past marriage have left Bryan a hard and cynical man, the complete opposite of his preacher twin brother, Bruce. Built as solid as a brick house, at six feet tall with broad shoulders, a wide chest, and packed with muscle, Bryan is as tough as he looks.

When Bruce Kelly, who runs a safe house for reformed prostitutes, is physically attacked and lands in hospital, Bryan charges to the rescue. Knowing his sensitive, kind brother is not equipped to handle such a threat, Bryan takes over. Impersonating a preacher is hard for Bryan, who unlike his brother, has a healthy sex life as well as a very colorful vocabulary. But to protect his brother, Bryan will do anything.

His resolve and his disguise are both threatened with the arrival of a woman he knows only as Shay. Shay Sommers is a woman on a mission. Using the money left to her by her very rich late husband, Shay is compelled to help as many people as she can. After helping rescue a young prostitute from a desperate situation, Shay is determined to open a safe house for prostitutes. But when she finds herself in a bad neighborhood during a rain storm and a partial blackout, she suddenly requires of the protection of a stranger.

Bryan finds himself unwillingly drawn to Shay. Believing she is a prostitute, he takes her to the secure confines of the safe house. In spite of his best efforts, he is attracted at first to her external beauty. Shay is a tall woman with pale hair, blue eyes, and legs that go on forever. It’s not long before he’s captivated by her inner beauty as well, her goodness and her warmth. But Bryan knows she has secrets and tries to keep her at arm’s length.

Bryan believes all rich society women are mean-spirited and unconcerned about others; Shay knows that if Bryan finds out she is the woman the media nicknamed the “Crown Princess” after a scandal at one of her shelters almost results in the death of a young girl, he will turn her away. Hiding her real identity, Shay lives at the safe house to gain a better idea of what goes into running one.

Both Bryan and Shay are keeping secrets from one another, but their mutual attraction grows as they interact with each other and the other women who live at the shelter. Their relationship is tested when Shay’s real identity comes to light. Bryan tries to walk away, but when Shay is physically threatened by an unknown assailant, his first and only instinct is to protect her at all costs.

Lori Foster continues to create strong, tough male characters with a code of honor, who may not always follow the strict letter of the law but are always on the side of justice. They are men you can depend on when the chips are down, and her female characters are always more than a match for the men.

It is a highly sensual and sexual novel, but at its core is an amazing love story. The Secret Life of Bryan is a highly entertaining and enjoyable read, bringing back some of the characters we loved in her earlier novel Say No To Joe? as well as hinting at her upcoming novel due out in July 2004, When Bruce Met Cyn, when preacher Bruce Kelly will get his own story. As always, Lori Foster delivers a novel well worth reading and leaves you eagerly anticipating her next one.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Norma Collins, 2004

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