Thursday, September 09, 2010

Special of the Day

Special of the Day
By Elaine Fox
Publisher: Avon
Published: 2005
ISBN-13: 9780060740597
384 pages

Page 265:
Every time she stood near him she heated up like bread in a toaster.

All right, I know that feeling (see the teaser sentence above). I still get that feeling every now and then. I am talking about a former colleague of mine whom (I think) I had a serious crush on. There is a version of him (not him, but looks like him) where I work now and I have to try hard to keep a straight face each time I bumped into him. I tell you, it's true what they write in romance novels; that on page 265, and many more.

I have been reading so much of serious stuff lately I need something light to put some balance back into my life. I felt like some romance, something funny and witty. That, and I also need to knock some titles off my Romance Reading Challenge. So I picked Special of the Day and enjoyed it very much. It is charming, it is witty, and I liked the male character, Steve Serrano.

Steve is not just a handsome, charismatic bartender, he is also a smart guy and a regular at the Library of Congress! The pub where he works at has been bought over by a lady and he knows where she lives: in the same building as his. So he goes to visit her at her apartment with a very good bottle of wine with the intention of welcoming his new neighbor, but here is where things go wrong. Right at the very start.

Roxanne Rayeaux is a stunning ex-Sports Illustrated model turned restaurant owner and pastry chef. She keeps her former modeling profession a secret when she returns home to Virginia to start her own business. As I have said earlier, both Steve and Roxanne get on to a bad start, but they soon learn to play nice although rather unwillingly.

I was entertained throughout and it has been a while since I read something that made me smile and laugh instead of cry. I loved the tension between Roxanne and Steve. Throw in Steve's good pal, P.B. (Peter Baron a.k.a. Pretty Boy), into the picture and you see added tension. P.B. the cop is determined to woo the exquisite Roxanne, but I disliked him from the start. He is chauvinistic and even bets with Steve to see who "gets" Roxanne first. Steve, of course, does not want to play P.B.'s game.

That is not all there is to it. The plot is enhanced with the possibility that a lost copy of the Declaration of Independence may be hidden in the building that was once the home to Thomas Jefferson's cousin. Steve is researching heavily on this for his book. Although he tells Roxanne about this, he did not disclose about his aspiration to be a published author. Roxanne bought the entire building, so that makes her Steve's landlord too. Soon, there are break-ins to her restaurant. Misunderstandings happen between Roxanne and Steve. Also, should you decide to read this novel, try to guess who the culprit is to the break-ins.

The verdict? I enjoyed it very much. There are some steamy adult scenes but very nicely done. The secondary characters such as Roxanne's friends and Steve's co-workers are an interesting lot. I have also read all of Elaine Fox's dog series (Guys and Dogs, Beware of Doug, Hello, Doggy! (no review for this one), and Bedtime for Bonsai), and loved all of them. If you have not read her books, I recommend you give her a try.