by Karen Robards

March 1994 Reissue
ISBN: 0-446-3530-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

This book has a fascinating title. It could be an instruction manual for the sexually unenlightened, poetry in praise of male-female relationships, or directions for a happy marriage. In fact, this book is none of these things; it is a tale of violence, courage and romance between two unlikely lovers.

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Lisa Collins is a journalist of sorts who is caught in an African massacre at the beginning of this story. Barely escaping with her life, she is "rescued" by a group of mercenaries, led by one (yeah, you guessed it, devastatingly handsome) Sam Eastman. I have to confess that I was a bit muddled by all the back-story I had to deal with in order to get to Lisa's situation in Africa. Could this have better been scattered throughout the book? I'm not sure, but it is rather disorienting to have Lisa rescued from a brutal scene of savage violence and then slip into a dream of life as a budding journalist with a just-came-out-of-the-closet gay husband!

History aside, Lisa regains consciousness in the mercenary camp - a little better off than she was before but not much - being the only woman in this environment is an unenviable position. Of course she and Sam "connect" on various levels; as leader of the group, Sam is able to ensure her safety, especially when he lets it be known that she's "his woman". (One can almost hear the macho chest-thumping in the background.) It would have served this story (and Lisa's character) better if she had been allowed to use some of the intelligence she must have possessed to get a job as a journalist in the first place, rather than throwing hissy little rich girl tantrums! Odds are pretty good, for example, that if you're the only white woman for five thousand square miles, taking a bath alone in a nearby stream might not be the best idea. Duh.

Luckily, Lisa does have a core of strength that permits her to at least have a go at saving them when the situation arises, and eventually she is able to get herself and Sam back to the United States. The second part of this story is less about dramatic adventures, and more about the tricky path of true love! Once again, the noble hero is deeply concerned about the heroine's large fortune (just once, couldn't we have a guy who says "OK, honey, just stick your money in the bank - if we need it we'll use it!"), and there are some rough emotional minefields to be negotiated. It's almost as if this book comes in two installments - 'Sam and Lisa in Africa', followed by 'Sam and Lisa do the Love thing in the USA'. I'd like to say this book is recommended, but I didn't really like it enough to go that far. I will say that Sam and Lisa are interesting and likeable characters, and their story is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, even if you do trade it for something else later on.

Reviewed in December 2001 by Celia.

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