by Anthology

July 2006
ISBN: 0-425-21012-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Trade Paperback

Janelle Denison starts off this anthology with Hot and Bothered, introducing us to recently divorced Claire Reissing and pub owner Shea O’Brien. Now out from under the rule of an overly possessive husband, Claire is enjoying the quiet life in the California beach house she was awarded in the settlement. She enjoys watching Shea out jogging each morning, but she hasn’t spoken to him since her return. While out swimming, Claire is caught in a riptide and Shea swims out to save her. Things immediately heat up from there in classic Denison style. Though the plot is predictable, the story is still charming and my favorite story in the book.

Paradise Bossed by Mary Janice Davidson brings back Cathy and Jack from the previously-published short story Fixer Upper. This time they are taking a vacation with Cathy’s best friend Nikki, who ends up dying while out snorkeling. Though she tries to communicate with her distraught friend, no one can hear her. That is until Jack brings medium Tom to the island. Nikki is thrilled when Tom can actually see and hear her. Since Tom has always been able to see dead people he’s actually grown more comfortable around them than those still breathing. But when Tom becomes so caught up in his feelings for Nikki, will she be able to convince him to stay in the land of the living? In typical Davidson fashion, the story is quirky and the heroine is mouthy and brash. In this case, the hero is tall, pale and skinny to the point of malnourishment. Not exactly my cup of tea.

Rounding out this trio is Hot Summer Bites by Nina Bangs. Reporter Kristin Hughes is determined to get the scoop on the Castle of Dark Dreams. She wants to find out if the fantasies offered at the resort are actually of a sexual nature. Vampire Taurin Veris isn’t happy Kristin is once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. One of her previous stories ended up running him and several other vampires out of the small town they’d made their home, and they weren’t happy about it. Now Taurin is trying to give Kristin the scoop she was expecting without letting her learn that the Castle is actually home for several types of paranormal creatures. And there are definitely plenty of strange creatures abounding in this book – cosmic troublemakers, a wanna-be action hero, vampires, wizards, weresharks and talking cats.

I’m confused as to why these three stories would be combined into the same book since the second two are so extremely different than the first story. The only thing they do have in common is all three stories take place near the ocean. There is no indication on the cover of Surf's Up or in the blurb on the back that any of the stories are of a paranormal bent and a warning would have been nice.

Reviewed in July 2006 by Jackie.

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