by Jane Bierce

March 2004
ISBN: 1-58749-426-4
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Penelope (Penny) Birch and her partner Shelby Haines are having a devil of a time keeping their Atlanta based image consulting business, Southern Images, afloat. The red line is the one motivational point that has city girl Penny, trekking through the wilderness to meet Miles Jacobs, their latest project.

Miles is the research and development partner for Jacobs Camping Supplies, a firm dedicated to outfitting those who enjoy the outdoor life. More comfortable in the woods than in the city and with a hungry bearís disposition, Miles needs a makeover before he, in his brotherís absence, can attend a series of trade shows to sell his companyís products.

Jacobs Camping Supplies is also experiencing a financial crisis; therefore Mileís image conversion is very important. Pennyís success will determine her own prosperity as well as that of Miles, his family, and their employees. Miles isnít going to make it easy for her because he is definitely not a people person, and the last thing he wants to do is to become a city slicker. Itís hardly surprising that when the mountain meets the city, there are going to be some explosions. The fall out just might be love.

Even though it could use a little literary polish, Diamond in the Rough remains true to its name and is a gem of a story. For the most part, the characters were interesting, but the chemistry and the dialogue between Penny and Miles was lacking. As individuals, they were dynamic people, but as a couple, they were unaffecting.

It was quite obvious that the writer tried to explain the motivations behind the charactersí behaviors, but I still felt confused after reading a couple of passages, as though some essential scenes had been omitted.

The storyís concept was what actually carried it from start to finish. Everybody knows a fish and a bird can fall in love, but nobody knows where the two will live. The desire to see if Penny and Miles could meet each other on common ground, was the rope which held my eyes in place.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Natasha.

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