Bad Boys in Black Tie
Lori Foster et al
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Bad Boys in Black Tie
Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy & Morgan Leigh
320 pages
April 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Bad Boys In Black Tie, an anthology in the “Bad Boys” franchise by Brava Books, features stories that work on this premise: there’s something about a man in a tuxedo that’s irresistible. While that’s certainly true, these authors turn up the heat, and also prove that sometimes a man is even more appealing out of one. Sexy, lighthearted, poignant, and sometimes humorous, the women in each of these stories has their own encounter with a tuxedoed man that changes her life.

In “Good With His Hands,” Lori Foster delivers, as usual, a page-turning tale filled with sexual heat, witty dialogue, and wonderful characters. Cassidy McClannahan is a woman with a plan. Her entire life, she has been focused on her goal of opening her own sports center, and she currently works at The Sports Therapy Center to acquire the experience she needs. Her other goal it to eventually marry a professional man – a guy in a suit and tie who is dedicated to his job and his family.

Pete Watson works with Cassidy and lives in the adjoining condo. They are good buddies, but suddenly Pete is seeing his friend a little differently and wants much more than just friendship. But Pete doesn’t fit the description of the kind of man that Cassidy wants. He likes his home and his job, and has a live-for-the-moment attitude but no plans for the future. Can Pete become the kind of man that Cassidy wants or can he convince her that she doesn’t really need a man in a “black tie?”

In her offering of “Miss Extreme Congeniality,” Erin McCarthy pens an emotionally complex tale that is punctuated by moments of unexpected humor. C.J. White and Wyatt Maddock are FBI partners working together on an insider trading case for the Bureau. Wyatt is a sexy, untamed playboy, and CJ hates him because she wants him. To quote her, “He was testosterone in a tux and she was boring in baggy.” Their working relationship has deteriorated to the point where it is impossible for them to work together as Wyatt has made it abundantly clear that he wants her, too.

Wyatt makes her a deal. If C.J. will spend one night with him and wear whatever he wants her to, then he will transfer to another field office. C.J. longs for the chance to be with Wyatt but also believes that it is impossible for them to have a relationship, so she agrees. What happens between them is more than either one of them bargains for, but C.J. has secrets that may ultimately keep them apart. It is up to Wyatt to make her realize that this man in black tie, is indeed the man of her dreams.

Morgan Leigh’s “Last Call” entertains us with a story of mistaken identity that has depth and shows that there is more to people than meets the eye. Tess Braeden moves to Justice, North Carolina, when she learns that she has inherited a house from a grandfather she didn’t even know she had. The problem is that it has taken them two years to locate her, and the historical Victorian home has fallen into disrepair. She has two months to pay off the back taxes and outstanding loans, and bring the house up to code, or it will revert to the town. The problem is she has no savings and her singing job at The Last Call, a local piano bar, doesn’t pay her enough. If that wasn’t bad enough, the mayor, G. F. Graham, doesn’t answer her messages and is never available when she tries to see him. But this is her one chance to settle down and have a home of her own, and she will do whatever it takes to keep it.

When Fletcher Graham walks into The Last Call one evening, he is drawn to the club’s new singer. Tess is immediately attracted to the man in the faded jeans and worn shirt who she comes to know only as Fletcher. She thinks that Fletcher works for the city, and has no idea that he is the mayor, the man with the power to destroy her dream. Fletcher knows that the truth might mean the end of their relationship, so he sets out to prove to Tess that he can help make all her dreams come true.

Bad Boys in Black Tie offers three completely different stories that all have a bad boy hero, who at some point, wears a tuxedo. As with any anthology, the reader might not enjoy all the offerings, but there is definitely something here to delight every one. Extremely sensual, well written, entertaining, and enjoyable, Bad Boys In Black Tie is a winner.

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

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