The Good, the Bad, and the Sexy
Forget the reality checks, because right off the bat I have to tell you that this book won’t stand up to them. But, if you can suspend disbelief and roll with the fantasy, you’ll probably enjoy spending a few hours with Jackson Stone, mega movie star, and Rachel Marsh, widowed owner of an Arizona dude ranch.
Jackson is a major league star with an aspiring Goth for a daughter, a tabloid reporter on his butt, and a real desire to be taken seriously as an actor. Rachel is the stand-up mother of a terrific 12-year old boy and the owner of a dude ranch currently carrying a lot of debt. Jackson needs a bolt hole to quietly research an upcoming role and Rachel needs cash. Sounds like a match, doesn’t it? Especially since our heroine’s isolated Arizona home is also a great place to protect his 13-year old daughter from the press following her disastrous attempt to run away with a rock star. That’s worth $4,000 a day, don’t you think?
Now here’s where the reality part gets tricky. All it takes to disguise Jackson Stone, major movie star, from the staff, guests, and nearby townspeople is a haircut and a dye job. And, to make matters even more unbelievable, he actually uses the name Stoney Jackson. Hey, not only would I know if Hugh Jackman were anywhere within a hundred mile radius, I don’t think the name Jack Hughman would be your best bet to pull me off the scent.
But, it’s fantasy we’re talking here, and Emily Carmichael has delivered a good one. Rachel and Jackson are appealing characters and it’s fun to watch the spoiled movie star see what life is really like in the trenches. The author has also created, along with one pretty cool dog, two believable and likable kids. The evolution of Jackson’s daughter into a far less angst-ridden adolescent rang true and it’s one of the most satisfying elements of the book.
What didn’t ring quite so true were some of the story’s conflicts. I just don’t think that anybody with debts to pay would be quite so eager to get rid of a $4,000 a day guest as Rachel seems to be in the first half of the book. And both Rachel and Jackson seem a bit dense when it comes to working out their feelings and their future.
I also have to mention another small problem. This often acerbically funny book has one of those endings. From where I stand these sickeningly sappy epilogues – you know the ones I’m talking about – have just got to go.
Still, I enjoyed the book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to readers who haven’t yet OD’d on the movie star thing. And if there are any superstars out there who would like to spend time with the little people, I’ll be happy to discuss terms.