Behind The Red Doors
Grade : B+

Behind the Red Doors is the latest themed anthology from Harlequin. It contains three interlinked novellas by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Stephanie Bond, and Leslie Kelly. The Red Doors of the title is a store opened by two best friends; Jamie Ruskin and Faith Sherman. Jamie and Faith have come up with the idea of three boutiques in one store with a computerized shopping system to help people find the romantic gift. They can choose from jewelry, perfume, or lingerie.

Heaven Scent by Vicki Lewis Thompson

In the first story, Vicki Lewis Thompson's Heaven Scent, Jamie Ruskin is having a hard time dealing with her longtime attraction to her friend Faith’s brother. What she does not realize is that Dev has been looking her way also. When Jamie decides to improve the store’s database by getting input from men on what they would find attractive on a woman, things heat up dramatically as she uses Dev for her first interview subject.

Jamie and Dev's relationship is very enjoyable. Author Thompson captured both the sweet awkwardness of a beginning relationship and the heat of the attraction between the two in a wonderfully romantic story.

Grade: A Sensuality: Warm

Diamond Mine by Stephanie Bond

Stephanie Bond's Diamond Mine is next, featuring Faith, whose specialty is the jewelry store. She's arranged to display the famous Valentino Diamond as a promotion. As the diamond's owner requests extra security from any shop displaying it, the local police have been informed, and Officer Carter Grayson is assigned to assist with security. Faith and Carter have a past history. Faith is torn - should she see if they can make a fresh start, or should she avoid Carter and some painful memories? Carter is also taken aback by his reaction to Faith and the author does a great job of describing his shock when he realizes he is thinking of Faith as more than just a date. The rekindling attraction between Faith and Carter is believable and the mini-adventure at the end is fun.

Grade: B Sensuality: Warm

Sheer Delights by Leslie Kelly

The third story, Leslie Kelly's Sheer Delights, features grade school teacher Meg O’Roark, horrified to discover that her image is one of the computer models for lingerie at The Red Door - she thought she had posed for a hair salon. She meets Joe Santori when he hears her crying in the computer booth at the boutique. Assuming she is in some trouble, he goes to the rescue.

Joe was a great hero and Meg was also quite fun. They had a true romance in addition to the heat. While the sexual chemistry was definitely present, the reader knew that is was equally as possible to see Joe and Meg out waltzing under to moonlight and drinking champagne as it was to have them entwined on the sofa. For a relatively short space the author also did a wonderful job with the side characters. Joe’s mother was a hoot and his other relatives were really fun also; and I absolutely loved Meg’s next-door neighbor. Each additional character helped to move the story along and often added some great touches of humor.

Grade: B+ Sensuality: Warm

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 9, 2003

Publication Date: 01/2003

Review Tags: Anthology

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Over the years, AAR has had many a guest reviewer. If we don't know the name of the reviewer, we've placed their reviews under this generic name.
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