by Mary Stella

July 2004
ISBN: 1-932815-08-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Medallion Press
Trade Paperback

What do you get when you cross a recuperating DEA agent, a feisty older aunt, an intent young scientist and a gaggle of amorous dolphins? You get All Keyed Up, the debut novel from Mary Stella!

When Jack Benton is injured in South America, he comes home to Key West to recuperate from his wounds. While he is there, he decides that his Aunt Ruby deserves to have some peace and prosperity in her golden years, and finds a way to fund this dream. He discovers that there are developers eager to purchase Ruby’s dilapidated Dolphin Land attraction, which will set Ruby up for the rest of her life. There is one tiny snag - what to do with the dolphin residents of the park?

Ruby has found a more palatable plan, which she springs on Jack at the last minute. Dolphin researcher Dr. V. Sheffield wants to use her dolphins in an in-depth project, and will fund all the improvements and equipment needed for the experiments. That kind of cash infusion is just what the “doctor” ordered!

There are a couple of problems with this scenario: first, the doctor is Victoria Sheffield, daughter of the renowned scientist, and she is working on her own for the first time. Second, the grant money is not a sure thing, but the dividends from Vic’s personal trust fund. This doesn’t even take into account the sparks that are flaring off Jack and Victoria whenever they are within twenty feet of each other. Even the dolphins know something is going on!

For a debut author, Ms. Stella has a strong, original voice, laced with humor. The book captured my interest immediately and I finished it in just a few sittings. The pace is quick and light, with the right blend of sensuality and action. Jack and Victoria are well-developed characters, and Ruby is a “gem.” Pick up a copy of All Keyed Up for the perfect vacation entertainment. It’s sure to please!

Reviewed in June 2004 by Paula.

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