Trick Me, Treat Me
Trick Me, Treat Me is a fun, light seasonal read. There’s a little bit of everything here, from ghosts, to amnesia, to a misunderstanding and a mysterious old house. Sometimes the cornucopia of plot devices runneth o’er, but then there’s a lot here for such a short book.
Gwen Compton and her aunt Hildy run a gangster-themed bed and breakfast outside of Chicago. The old Marsden house was formerly owned by a gangster and ex-con whom Hildy had loved in her youth. He willed it to Hildy, and after several months of renovations it opens on Halloween weekend.
Coincidentally, true-crime writer Jared Winchester is just returning home from an extended tip to Russia. He spots an invitation in his mail to a role-playing Halloween party, and on the spur of the moment he decides to go. He knows the house: it’s the old Marsden place that used to scare all the neighborhood kids. He dresses up as his assigned character – a secret agent named Miles Stone. Unfortunately, Jared fails to notice that the party was planned for the previous year.
When he shows up in character and sneaks into the kitchen, he almost scares Gwen to death. Gwen happens to be down in the kitchen late at night in nothing but her sexy nightgown, and sparks start flying immediately. Jared assumes that she, too, is role-playing, and he introduces himself as Miles Stone. He fills her in with all the details of his supposed secret mission, and gives her a steamy kiss goodnight. At that moment, Aunt Hildy walks in the kitchen. Assuming he’s an intruder, she conks him on the head with a bag full of rolled pennies. When he comes to, Jared has no idea who he is, so Gwen fills him in – giving all the fake details he had given her.
Since Jared/Miles isn’t feeling so well, Gwen decides to sit by him for awhile so she can make sure he’s okay. Soon it’s evident that he’s a little more than “okay,” and though Gwen heads back to her own room, the house ghosts conspire to get the two in bed together. Though Jared has no memory, his libido, stamina, and vast store of sexual knowledge are completely intact. He and Gwen share one of the sexiest nights either of them can remember (granted, in Jared’s case that might not be saying much, but he has lots of fun nonetheless). Can their passion last longer than one fun-filled, spooky weekend? Jared and Gwen will have to solve a few mysteries before they can find out.
Obviously, there is quite a bit here, and some of it strains credulity. I’m not sure how many people would be up for an all-night sex-fest after being knocked unconscious, or whether ghostly gangsters really wander about, but if you’re going to think too hard about stuff like that this you need to choose other reading material. This is really just a light-hearted seasonal frolic.
That said, Gwen and Jared are perfectly unobjectionable characters, and the setting (clearly the star of the show here) is enjoyable. The gangster-themed bed and breakfast is cute, and perfect for a Halloween romance. Aunt Hildy has a nice turn as an elderly gangster’s moll, and her twenties-speak is kind of fun. However, since the last book I read featured an octogenarian nymphomaniac, I’ve about used up my personal quota of fun ‘n’ wacky old aunts for the year.
I also have to give Jared a great big gold star for his behavior when he realizes his real identity. Though he’s urged by someone else to conceal the truth from Gwen (because she’s having so much fun with the whole secret agent thing), he refuses to be dishonest. I was so happy to see a lame (but popular) plot device avoided, I could have kissed the guy. Romance heroes everywhere, go thou and do likewise.
Overall I found this a fairly enjoyable read, even with the over-stuffed plot and slightly underdeveloped characters. This obviously isn’t the book for you if you’re looking for a deep, thought-provoking read, but as a quick evening’s entertainment, it works.