by Stella Cameron

April 1997
ISBN: 0-8217-5624-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Polly Crow has a problem. Not with her successful career as host of a popular children's TV show, but with the man in the wet suit who regularly brought his Zodiac dinghy to a certain pier each day - the pier Polly was standing on as she watched him! After all, just because she was a single mom, and beloved of millions of young TV watchers, didn't mean she couldn't look at a man, did it?

Nasty Ferrito, retired Navy SEAL, knew he had to meet the woman who'd been watching him for several weeks. He knew who she was, most folks in town did. What he didn't know was that his quiet "hello" would scare the color from her cheeks and send her skittering away from him. It was obvious that Polly Crow was very afraid.

Once again, Stella Cameron takes us into a world where danger lurks in unexpected places and passion can blaze at a moment's notice. Nasty is the perfect man for Polly, or so he'd like her to believe; Nasty knows within seconds of meeting her that Polly is going to be the most important woman in his life, ever! Polly, however, is in a whole peck of trouble. Threatening phone calls and a less-than- pristine past loom over her head and events get worse by the minute. Fighting her fears for herself and her son takes a lot of her energy, fighting her urge to nestle into that wonderful Ferrito chest and never come out again soaks up the rest! Polly is getting exhausted! As she does in her novel Sheer Pleasures (the prequel to this story), Ms. Cameron presents a wonderful cast of supporting characters, both good and distinctly evil. Dusty Miller, the aging retired SEAL, lends his invaluable support, as does Roman Wilde, dropping in to help his buddy when things get rough. The cast and crew of Polly's show, on the other hand, are as degenerate and sexually obsessed a bunch of villains as anyone could wish for! It's a good thing we know that this is fiction; otherwise we'd start having serious doubts about Big Bird and his relationship with Oscar the Grouch!

This is not a simple story about a love affair, but a complex mystery in which the love affair is the pivotal element. Many factors are at play here, some of which are not revealed until well into the book; this is probably a good thing, although perhaps the reader might feel a little cheated out of a couple of clues that could have been dropped earlier on. There are certainly enough red herrings to keep everyone busy! Unlike her hero and heroine in Sheer Pleasures, Stella Cameron keeps the tension unresolved between Polly and Nasty until quite late in the story. This is not a problem, however, because although they haven't quite made it to bed yet, the air between them sizzles whenever they're within shouting distance of each other, and all she has to do is look at Nasty's chest, and it's all over for Polly! The problems and dangers that these two must face could bring them together or drive them apart - one thing is for sure: you'll learn how Nasty got his name and how well he lives up to it! This is definitely one for the keeper shelf!

For Stella Cameron fans, I note that the character of Polly Crow (and her family) appeared in the supporting cast of an earlier novel, True Bliss.

Reviewed in October 2001 by Celia.

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