As the title states, this fairly fun anthology brings together opposites in four short stories. You get a wilderness woman and a chef; a citified CEO and a small-town girl; a cartoonist and a rough-and-tumble sheepdog trainer; a princess and an adventurer.
The Icing On The Cake
- by Lynn Kurland
Grade : C- Sensuality : N/A
The Icing On The Cake by Lynn Kurland
Samuel MacCleod is a writer and budding gourmet chef on the run from his upper-crust family and their stifling way of life - and no land is less stifling than Alaska. So off he goes to the Great White North. Then he finds out that Sydney Kincaid, the owner of the house where he's boarding, is not a man, but a woman: a woman who runs a wilderness guide business and who can fix engines and fly-fish on top of a myriad of other exotic talents. Sparks fly, and the interaction between the two switches dizzyingly from "I can't stand you" to "I love you." This lead story is well written; Kurland is a good prose stylist and the writing is a lot of fun to read. Unfortunately, the interaction between Sam and Sydney is extremely heavy-handed, and Sydney is one of those Miracles of Modern Virginity; the explanation for her lack of sexual experience is quite unconvincing. A fun story, but not remarkable.
The Short, Hot Summer
- by Elizabeth Bevarly
Grade : C- Sensuality : N/A
The Short, Hot Summer by Elizabeth Bevarly
Preston Atherton IV is in Butternut, Alabama during a heatwave, attempting to close a multi-million dollar deal with an eccentric (if filthy rich and spectacularly successful) local. Unfortunately, said filthy rich and spectacularly successful eccentric has left on an indefinite fishing trip, which leaves Preston more time to interact with Mamie Calhoun, the lovely proprietor of the only B&B in town. Although her use of parallel structures becomes repetitious and downright annoying at times, Bevarly is another author who is quite a lot of fun to read. However, her tycoons usually aren't very convincing, and Preston is no exception. He is appropriately starchy in the beginning, but he just doesn't project enough sharpness to be a believable CEO of a hugely successful company. The falling in love process also has an extremely rushed feel, which is a common problem with most romance short stories. Overall, readable and mildly entertaining.
The Princess and the Adventurer
- by Elda Minger
Grade : C+ Sensuality : N/A
The Princess and the Adventurer by Elda Minger
This last story has it all. A mysterious disappearance! Lost treasure! A prissy but gutsy heroine! A rugged but tender hero! A very jungly jungle, complete with Indian tribe! Actually, the tale is very entertaining and fun in a gung-ho, slightly silly kind of way. Isabelle Burke is looking for her brother who disappeared in a South American jungle and Matthew Kinkaid is the mercenary/adventurer who helps her in this task. This story suffers, unfortunately, from kitchen-sink plotting, and Isabelle is yet another Miracle of Modern Virginity, but it has so much energy that I found myself enjoying it. A fun adventure story if you're willing to suspend quite a bit of disbelief.