An Improper Proposal
Grade : B

An Improper Proposal is a sexy, action-packed, humorous book. This is not a book to turn to if you are looking for in-depth character analysis or tortured, soul-searching heroes; this one is just pure fun. While it's slightly flawed at the end, overall it provides for solid entertainment.

Payton Dixon has had a rather unconventional upbringing. Her father and brothers make up Dixon and Sons Shipping Company, and she has spent her entire life traveling around the world with them on their ships. She's as skilled at navigating and other ship-board tasks as they are, so in her mind the firm really ought to be called "Dixon, Sons, and Daughter." Her dream is to captain the Constant, a brand new ship just built for the line. She has another dream too, though - to marry Connor Drake, her brothers' best friend and fellow sea captain.

In a blink of an eye, it looks like both of her dreams will be taken from her. Connor becomes engaged to the beautiful Becky Whitby, and her father gives Connor the Constant as a wedding present. Too late, Connor sees Payton on the eve of his wedding, and finally realizes that he's attracted to her. Since she's been wearing men's clothes around him for years until now, it's hardly surprising that it took him a little while to notice her femininity. Meanwhile, Payton meets a relative of Connor's who encourages her to stop his wedding to Miss Whitby, and she begins to wonder if it just might be possible.

Giving away any more of this plot would spoil the book, which is full of surprises at every turn. Suffice it to say the rest of the book includes adventure on the high seas, and steamy romance on a deserted island. There's plenty of danger as well, but thankfully there is hardly any gore and not much of a body count. Author Cabot realizes, wisely, that dead or tortured bodies would ruin the fun, light style of the novel.

But although this is one is on the lighter side, that doesn't mean the love scenes are tame. Rather, they are plentiful, detailed, and well-written. Other books with this many love scenes often prove boring or annoying - or worse, ridiculous. Fortunately Cabot never strays into purple territory, and the love scenes are pertinent to the plot (rather than seeming extraneous).

Like the plot, the characters are entertaining. Payton is spunky (but mostly in a good way), and manages to be innocent and sensual at the same time. Connor is a good match for her, and his struggle to control his thoughts about her provides much of the comedy in the novel. I also liked Payton's brothers, whose antics are consistently amusing. Their interaction reminded me a little of that between Nora Roberts' Quinn brothers, but with a dash of buffoonery thrown in for good measure. The one real flaw in the book comes toward the end, when Payton's behavior is illogical and hard to explain. But it's easy to forgive all when the happy end rolls around.

Sometimes it's just nice to know that all heroes aren't tortured men with a dark past. If you are looking for adventure without the blood and guts that so often accompany it, or perhaps for a fun, light and sexy read, An Improper Proposal is an excellent choice.

Reviewed by Blythe Smith
Grade : B

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : November 30, 1999

Publication Date: 1999

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Blythe Smith

I've been at AAR since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. I've been a Reviewer, Reviews Editor, Managing Editor, Publisher, and Blogger. Oh, and Advertising Corodinator. Right now I'm taking a step back to concentrate on kids, new husband, and new job in law...but I'll still keep my toe in the romance waters.
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