by Heather MacAllister

May 2003
ISBN: 0-373-69128-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #928
Mass Market Paperback

Male Call by Heather MacAllister, is part of Harlequin Temptations Single in the City series. I was a bit befuddled when I began this adventure, but that didn’t last long, and I found myself having a fine time indeed!

Marnie LaTour is a computer nerd/brainiac. She’s been told by a fellow co-worker that she’s just not “girlfriend material”. The very co-worker she happens to lust after. So Marnie sets off to change that, first by renting her own apartment on a weekly basis. Then by having a total makeover. Marnie rents an apartment from a guy named Franco, for only two days a week, but what she doesn’t know is Franco is about to bring about some serious changes to her life. Franco is a bit mysterious, but he knows what he’s doing and when he loans her a skirt to begin her makeover everything changes. Now, not only is she girlfriend material, but she’s grade-A hunky, girlfriend material!

Zach Renfro is on a mission to restore the “painted ladies” of San Francisco. The painted ladies are old Victorian houses that survived the earthquakes in the nineteen hundreds. He loves these houses like he might love a girlfriend, and he loves restoration. He’s also got a thing for the new girl who just moved into one of his restoration projects. He can’t believe she’s the same woman he’s watched wandering around dressed as if she’s homeless. Once Zach gets a look at the new Marnie, he’s all hot and bothered. He agrees to help Marnie become “girlfriend material”, but exactly whose girlfriend will that be? Marnie is attracted to Zach, but playing it cool. Zach is hot for Marnie, but playing it even cooler. How does this all play out? You’ll have to read it to see!

I was a bit confused in the beginning of this read. I’m not sure if this was the first in the series, or somewhere in the middle. That said, once I figured out the magic skirt, I was there! This was a premise that’s been used before, and the plot device with the girlfriend material was the stuff formula romance is made of. But, so what? I had a great time, and I didn’t give a hoot! It was the dialogue that did it for me. Not the heat between the couple, there wasn’t a lot of sizzle to be had, but the dialogue and the inner thoughts of Marnie and Zach were fresh and funny. They flowed from one funny scene to the next. I enjoyed the good-natured banter almost more than the usual sexual tension. Zach’s thoughts sometimes made me laugh out loud. His struggle to make Marnie see him as a candidate for his affections, without saying so openly, were a good giggle. Marnie was adorable and played her cards just the way I would have. No serious luggage between them, just the age old when boy meets girl!

For sure, this reviewer will be taking a peek at another Harlequin, if this is any indication of the good old-fashioned fun to be had! Magic skirts, makeovers and prime male flesh are the ingredients for Male Call!

Reviewed in September 2003 by Connie.

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