by Dixie Kane

December 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7245-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

New York entrepreneur extraordinaire Nick Gerard is sick! He’s sick of his greedy family, who cares nothing for him and look only to poke huge holes into his well-padded wallet. He’s also sick – with pneumonia, but he doesn’t know it. So when he finds out that the tenants of the building bequeathed to him by his grandfather, are scaring off prospective buyers by creating ingenious problems, he decides to do a covert inspection of the whole situation. He proceeds to do this by renting an apartment in that building and pretending to be a fledgling author and right away is taken very ill. The building located in the French Quarter of New Orleans holds numerous surprises, only some of which are the totally unique tenants. There is Shirley a.k.a Madam Fortunata, a psychic/fortune-teller; Jaye, the female-impersonator; Ed, the curmudgeonly Professor; and Magnolia ‘Maggie’ Mayfair, the mask-maker. And let’s not forget the pesky ghost, of course! All of whom band together to take wonderful care of their new fellow-tenant, as they innocently think Nick to be.

But it’s Maggie who holds Nick’s interest and soon becomes the subject of his erotic fantasies. She’s a “wife-in-waiting” in the body of a “sex kitten”, or so Nick believes. While the ‘sex kitten’ part of it makes steam come out of his ears, the ‘wife’ part makes him go cold all over - and it’s not just the fever peaking! Having sufficiently recovered from a heart-broken experience by moving to New Orleans and with the help of her fellow tenants who’ve become her second family, Maggie is poised on the brink of starting a futureless sex-marathon! When Nick has been predicted by Shirley to closely resemble the stranger for Maggie, all Maggie’s lustful fantasies now suddenly have a face and a body - and what a body it is too! She offers Nick a stringless affair, but is shocked when the commitment-phobic Nick sees it as a prelude to marriage and outright rejects her! Which is when the other tenants decided to meddle... and to help them along is a ghost, which leads to a hysterically funny and muddled state of affairs!

What fantastic FUN! These are the words that come to my mind after I finished reading this zany book! That and the feeling of happy satisfaction make this one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. With a unique and well-developed cast of characters (and not just the main protagonists!), and a charming, warm and witty style of writing, author Dixie Kane has penned a greatly appealing book. Humor is there in every nook and cranny, and this keeps the mood of the book light throughout. The book is set in the city of New Orleans and the author has managed to evoke the local atmosphere so vividly, it's like the reader is almost there. Nick is also very comical and not just when he starts stammering whenever he has to say the word ‘wife’! The reasons behind his suspicions and motives are clear right from the beginning, as are Maggie’s. Side characters enhance the story and keep the pace tight and the tale moving quickly. How they all sort it out makes an uproarious and entertaining tale indeed!

Reviewed in February 2003 by Rashmi.

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