by Debbi Rawlins

November 2001
ISBN: 0-373-79017-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #13
Mass Market Paperback

Dream analysis is a serious business – at least it is for struggling dyslexic Emma Snow, who is busting her cute buns to handle a waitressing job, a program of graduate study and finish her thesis on dream analysis. Left in the lurch by a final subject, Emma is ecstatic when her friend Brenda offers Nick Ryder (Brenda’s brother) as a substitute. Blackmailing playboy Nick was no problem for Brenda – sisters have privileged information, and don’t hesitate to use it.

Nick, whose playboy image was hiding a very sharp mind and a deeply philanthropic nature, really wasn’t into the “dream thing”, but once he got started, he was strangely eager to see Emma each day, even though she was buttoned down, pulled back, and wearing her heaviest glasses. It might have been different if he hadn’t caught a glimpse of her changing out of her waitress uniform – but the red thong kind of caught his attention.

This is a lovely plot, just begging for romance! And initially, the attraction between Nick and Emma is a delight, a combination of the tentative and the erotic as Nick starts narrating his dreams in all their X-rated glory to a somewhat prudish Emma. However, the story falters as Nick’s narratives continue, because, to put it bluntly, they get boring. Nick is presented as a very bright, independently wealthy, twenty-nine year old man who occasionally day-trades! This is not the life of someone whose dreams are continually full of luscious nymphets who can’t wait to strip him naked (or at least it didn’t feel like it should be!). There was a definite dichotomy between the sophisticated life Nick was supposed to be leading and the pre-pubescent dreams he was supposed to be having.

In addition, Emma’s responses were a little overdone. She had, apparently, been involved in dream research for some time, and I can’t imagine being in that field and not having heard a few erotic dreams reported. She is a hard-working and dedicated student with a serious need to prove herself by attaining her doctorate. She does her best to hide her reaction from Nick, and I’m sure it must have been embarrassing for her to listen to his semi-adolescent ramblings, but her behavior seemed unprofessional and reduced her interaction with Nick to a series of squirms. Once away from the dream analysis situation, both characters fared better and their interaction became more believable. But unfortunately, the damage had been done by that time, and I found it hard to muster up much enthusiasm for the consequent problems the couple had to experience before true love wins the day.

It’s a pleasant book, but not as much a “Blaze” as some others I’ve read. Nick and Emma kept me occupied on a winter’s afternoon, but I think they’ll end up on my “trade” shelf.

Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.

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