Hero In The Nick Of Time
by Marie Ferrarella, contemporary (1999)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.25, ISBN 0-373-07956-7

This book is part of the Childfinders, Inc series, but I didn't read the author booklist too closely to see if this book is the start of the series or a book in the middle. Cade Townsend is feeling bitterly melancholic on the third anniversary of his son Darin's kidnapping. In the three years he has done all in his power to look for him, in vain, and now he has set up a PI agency that specializes in helping parents find their missing children. I'm touched, truly. This man is wonderful, I thought when I read Chapter One, so please don't let anyone turn him into a stereotype by Chapter Five please. Thankfully that never happened. In comes McKayla Dellaventura (don't laugh) who needs the Childfinders, Inc to help her find her missing niece. Only thing is, since she is a dentist but has a college minor in law enforcement, she insists she's well-equipped to play PI alongside Cade. At this point McKayla is funky, spunky, and wonderfully feisty. I pray that please, don't turn her into a man-hater and goodie-woodie stereotype - please!

To my delight, McKayla actually is an asset to Cade as they wiggle their way through suspects and stuff. Honey, these two people sizzle. Cade is intelligent, good at what he does, and is a kind and wonderful man. Oh, he's good in bed too. McKayla? She's a wonderful match for Cade. As they stumble onto a black market syndicate dealing with child trade, she shows guts and brains as she gathers information from unwitting suspects while playing more than PI duty with darling Cade. These two are fun, wonderful, and superb together. For me, to find that in a category romance, that's a special occasion!

One big quibble though. McKayla is a virgin. Virgins in contemporaries are fine by me, provided they have a valid reason to be. Like it or not, people are putting the battery rabbit to shame nowadays in the bedroom, within and without wedlock. It is hard for me to go Huh when MacKayla dismisses her virginity with a simple No man makes me feel this way before. Yes, indeed. I can only think of a few reasons why this is so:

(a) She has a pituitary and ovary malfunction, resulting in defective secretion of sex hormones and hence she didn't reach puberty until she's 24,

(b) She was a shy, reclusive, dysfunctional female Norman Bates controlled by a religious zealot mother who has never let her see a man, much less interact with one, until now, or

(c) It's just a token thing, a Hero awakens heroine's womanly pleasures thing.

Since MacKayla shows no sign of being a virgin on the grounds of religious or personal beliefs, and her sexual urges seem fine, I suspect it's (c). And that I find extremely distracting, because, believe it or not, I burst out laughing. Especially when the author has MacKayla so defensive about her virgin status after her, uhm, deflowering. Definitely (c).

Oh well, nothing is perfect, I guess.

Rating: 81

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