by Elizabeth Bevarly

January 2005
ISBN: 0-06-050947-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Michael Sawyer thought his days of working as a secret agent for OPUS with the code name Raptor were far behind him after leading a quiet life with his son for five years. Much to his dismay, he is coerced back into service to help investigate his former nemesis, Sorcerer, who is working for CompuPax, a big computer company. This investigation also leads him into spying on the seemingly staid and polished headmistress of his son's private school. Hannah Frost is a competent and professional headmistress who has worked hard to overcome and hide her difficult childhood. She feels both firecrackers and warning bells go off when she is around Michael. He seems to be a man of mystery, one whom might threaten her perfectly planned, though lonely life.

In an intertwined and parallel story, the reader is treated to the story of T. Paxton Brown, the owner of the computer company. He is extremely wealthy despite dropping out of high school after the taunts got too much for him. He decides to take a returning education class so he can finally get a real diploma. His teacher is a lovely young, Selby. At first Mr. Brown tries to pass himself off as "Thomas Brown", an average guy, and looks at Selby as just another conquest. When he accidentally finds out she suffered torment in high school, too, his attitude changes and he fears he will lose Selby when she learns his true identity.

All the main characters are endearing as well as engaging. They feel vulnerable and ashamed of their pasts, despite current success. Most of us avid readers have had to deal with taunts in the past. Love can be difficult, but it also can heal a host of hurts. The characters also have to learn to accept themselves and get over the past, as we all must, to head into a better future.

Ms. Bevarly manages to weave two love stories seamlessly into to a book that is a fantastic blend of wry humor, steamy romance, suspense, and poignancy. All the characters are richly drawn and feel like old friends by the last page. The dialog and vivid narrative make Just Like a Man an extremely entertaining reading experience. It is easy to see from this book why Ms. Bevarly has many fans and will continue to gain more.

Reviewed in December 2004 by Roberta.

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