by Summer Jordan, contemporary (2007)
Total-ebound, £3.49, ISBN 978-1-906328-06-1
Let Me Entertain You is Summer Jordan's first book in her series Wives-R-Us. As their business card says, Wives-R-Us are "three charming ex-wives with experience" who will not only plan events like dinners for a fee but also play hostess for such events. I don't know why Leanne Jamison, Margo Allen, and Erin Fox need to define themselves as "charming ex-wives" on their business cards, though. Is that some kind of code phrase for "gold diggers on the prowl"?
Not that Leanne Jamison, the heroine of this story, is a gold digger on the prowl. She however does need four thousand dollars by the end of the month or her condominium, which she loves but is very expensive to maintain, will fall out of favor with the condo association. Mike Andrews needs someone to pose as his wife quickly. As the author of the syndicated relationship and marriage advice column Ask Dr Mike, he is in a most troublesome predicament. His divorce was not public knowledge, but he is about to land a publishing deal so he needs a wife to parade before the folks at the publishing house. Therefore, he will pay Lea the money she needs if she will pretend to be his wife. Being his wife also means dealing with his twin children, Julie and Jon. I'm sure you know what will happen.
This story is predictable enough but I must say that I am so glad that the two-year old twins aren't the matchmaking little monsters like I initially feared they would be. In fact, the main characters behave pretty reasonably throughout the story. The fake wife storyline has been used many times before, but Ms Jordan at least gives Mike a pretty good reason to use a pretend wife. There are some marriage experts in real life whose career survived a divorce or two, but I suppose Mike can be forgiven for understandably fearing the worst if word gets out that his wife dumped him for a man she met on the Web. The exes aren't too much of a caricature and the romance feels pretty solid and credible.
I have a few quibbles though. I like that Lea has a pretty healthy approach to sex (she has no bizarre or neurotic attitude when it comes to sleeping with a cute guy that she has her eye on), but I cringe when Lea tells Mike that protection isn't necessary when it comes to sex because she's on the pill. For me, this is a very silly thing to do and it's tantamount to the author having the sun rise in the south in her story. Why bring up protection when the author is going to pretend that the protection is solely to avoid an unwanted pregnancy? If the author wants to imagine that STDs don't exist, don't hey, why not just drop the mention of protection in her story? Doing things halfway and pretending that the condom is only a substitute for the pill is bordering on insulting the reader's intelligence.
Also, while this story has some pretty spicy love scenes, I find some of the lines more laughable than sexy. In a phone sex session, for example, Mike tells Lea, "Separate the lips of your vagina, Lea, and feel around inside." What is this? A do-it-yourself colposcopy session?
The author occasionally dips into overused but silly plot conventions in this story, which results in this story lacking some kind of freshness in its approach to an overused premise. Still, Let Me Entertain You is an enjoyable read with the characters and the romance having enough to prevent it from being a completely stale rehash of an overused storyline.
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