by Samantha Hunter

July 2004
ISBN: 0-373-79146-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #142
Mass Market Paperback

In order to do research for an article on Internet romance for her column in "Real Woman" magazine, Raine Covington joins RomanceMUD. Through it shes "meets" a man whose screen name is "Rider". Raine has given herself the screen name of "Nilla" while eating vanilla wafers. They run home each night to chat with each other as their on line romance heats up. Duane, Raine's boss wants her to meet "Rider", but Raine is hesitant, not only because of the personal security risk, but also for fear of being disappointed. She finally agrees with surprising results.

Jackson Harrison, better known as just Jack, is the new computer guru at "Real Woman" magazine. He look vaguely familiar to Raine and definitely does not fit the computer nerd stereotype. Unknown to Raine, Jack had a crush on her when they were both in a private high school. She was the adopted daughter of a wealthy man and his parents owned a bed and breakfast.

Raine experiences the downside of the Internet when she becomes the victim of a cyber-stalker. At first she is the beneficiary of the stalker's adoration with loving emails, roses and her bills cleared up. Then when her stalker realizes he has been scorned, Raine finds things have gone into a downward spiral. The police can do little to help, but Jack is trying to use his expertise to ward off tragedy.

Raine and Jack are in their thirties, but have focused on their careers and not had serious relationships. They seem typical these days, in that many people are so busy they don't find much time for truly fulfilling relationships, which are often in short supply. The use of the Internet as a plot device definitely gives this book a topical touch. The author says she met her now-husband through the Internet so she has written from the heart and has done other research to provide an authentic ring to the novel.

In this debut, the author has written a Virtually Perfect book. There is plenty of sizzle, excellent character development and mystery. I look forward to future books by Samantha Hunter. Her talent and writing style would work well in any genre.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Roberta.

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