by Joan Elliott Pickart

June 1999
ISBN: 0-373-76223-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #1223
Mass Market Paperback

Taming Tall, Dark Brandon, is a great beginning to Joan Elliot Pickart's The Bachelor Bet series. The series focuses on three best friends:

Brandon Hamilton: Age: 35. Hotel Owner. 6ft., nicely built. Black hair, dark eyes. Principled, protective...powerfully attractive.

Taylor Sinclair: Age: 36. Accountant. 6ft., trim. Light brown hair, brown eyes. Self-confident, smart, stylish...sexy.

Ben Rizzoli: Age: 35. Doctor. 6ft., rugged. Black hair, dark eyes. Private, precise proud...purely potent.

The first book in the series focuses on Brandon Hamilton. Here's a man who's gotten out of the rat race of big city law and returned home to a calmer pace. Running a hotel in small town Prescott, Arizona suits him just fine. He's happy with his life the way it is, until advertising executive Andrea Cunningham bursts through the front door of his hotel and promptly faints into his arms.

Andrea is on a much needed vacation from her exhausting life style of all work and no play. A much needed, Dr. enforced vacation. She has no intention of enjoying her time in Prescott or of getting involved with the locals, but she does. Particularly, sexy Brandon, who convinces her to use the time to have some fun.

Brandon is fabulous. Handsome, attentive, caring. He's dedicated to making the hotel a success and it looks like he's achieved his goal. His relationship with his two great aunts Prudence and Charity is heart-warming.

Andrea stands out as being a business woman who doesn't know and doesn't want to know love. But while other heroines with that same trait have come across as cold, Andrea is quickly seen as a warm human being who simply has never known love. She's immediately welcomed into the fold and becomes an even more enjoyable character.

The secondary characters in this book are very likeable. There are the great aunts who happen to be twins, Jennifer MacKane the hotel's hostess (who I feel should have her own book). And then there is Ben Rizzolli, whos book is the last in The Bachelor bet trilogy, and who delights in tormenting Brandon whenever possible. The rapport between Ben and Brandon is great fun to read.

I do have two gripes. One, I felt Taylor Sinclair should have been introduced earlier in the story. He appears in the last chapter so that things kind of flow into the next book in the trilogy which focuses on him, but it's implied that he didn't meet Andrea until 4 months after her and Brandon's wedding. You'd think if the three guys were as close as it's been implied Taylor would have made it back to Prescott for the wedding. My second gripe is about when Andrea finally tells her oblivious boss to take his job and shove it the scene felt a bit stilted. Her boss just kind of shrugged and went about his business. There's no way that would actually happen when you're resigning as VP of a company.

These are just minor gripes and they don't really affect the romantic aspects of the book. I'd recommend this book as a light, fun read. You'll definitely be moved to continue on with the series.

Reviewed in August 2001 by JaToya.

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