The Winston Brothers
by Lori Foster, contemporary (2001, reissue)
Jove, $6.50, ISBN 0-515-13173-3

I am in a hurry when I see this book at the New Arrivals section. "Eh? Her book is out already? Wasn't it due in January 2002?" What the heck, must be some early release thing - in it goes to my book bag and I dash home just in time for Buffy The Vampire Slayer (off-topic: so far the season seems better than last season's drek). Imagine my own Slayer impersonation when I realize that it is a compilation of Lori Foster's previous novellas for Jove. Jove must be trying to build up hype for this author's full-length debut.

Okay, what the heck, I'll just cut and paste my reviews of the novellas in the past here.

First off, Tangled Sheets which originally appeared in Hot Chocolate (1999).

Lori Foster's Tangled Sheets is simply Oh-my-oh... whipped cream? sort of story. Whipped cream will never be the same again, not after reading this. Shy, mousy florist Sophie Sheridan has a thing for sexy barkeep Cole Winston and little does she know Cole wants to rip off his shirt and do King Kong impersonation whenever she's around. Cole, in fact, has rigged a Valentine contest. Ladies can apply in this beauty pageant-like thing and winner gets her favorite Winston brother as a date for the night. Where can I sign up? Can I send in multiple entries? I have 5 million entry forms hoarded in my store room.

Cole is determined to persuade Sophie to enter, so that she could be made a winner and is then forced to take him on a date, heh heh. Hey, it's the best he can think of to get that shy and timid woman out on a date with him. Sophie has her own plans. She's bored. She wants to live a little. Without any strings attached, of course, she conjures a twin sister who is the hussy Sophie isn't. Cole sees right through her flimsy disguise and they then cause the whole neighborhood to explode in a ball of fire.

This one is a bit too similar to the other Lori Foster novella Tangled Dreams for comfort, but hey, I'm on a Lori Foster joyride and having the time of my life. These Winston guys can jump out of my birthday cake anytime.

Next, Tangled Dreams, originally from Charmed (1999).

Lori Foster's Tangled Dreams is... oh momma, let me fan myself. Two ghosts that haunt Allison's antiquated house can only move on if they can bequeath a family heirloom to a passionate descendant - Allison. To prove her glorious, red-hot passion and hence helping the two dears move on to the hereafter, Allison - a virgin - would have to find a man to prove her mettle. She's always got the hots for her best friend's husband's brother Chase, so she takes a deep breath and gets into a bosom-revealing dress. Okay, so she's a bit dense, but the hero is worth the read. Chase, thanks to the ghosts, gains a newfound ability to read Allison's mind. Her sexual fantasies with him as the main star. Explicit fantasies. XXX-till-you-explode-sort of fantasies. But wait, Chase is a rather kinky man who likes to play mild bondage stuff in bed. Allison is in for the thrill of her life. This story is funny, delightful, has red-hot explosive chemistry, and sexual tension that burns into a conflagration. This story is worth the price of the (anthology it originally came from) alone.

Finally, the weakest of the three, Tangled Images from Sinful (2000).

Lori Foster's Tangled Images has yet another Winston hunk, Mack, wooing a shy, timid woman, this time an older former photography-school classmate Jessica. Jessica is supposed to take snapshots of Mack modeling lingerie, but the silly woman acts as if she's forced to undergo brain surgery. Instead of choosing the most revealing undies for Mack, she trembles, scowls, shivers, pouts, and make me wish I can cobble her head with the rolling pin. Thanks to Jess, I can't get to read about Mack in thongs or G-strings or other flimsy undies. How disappointing.

Mack is a great hero, but Jess' token baggage (single mom with bad ex - another one of those) spoils the fun. TI is decent, but let's face it - Jess never put Mack in any revealing - really - revealing or challenging situations. She is no match for Mack either verbally or emotionally, hence rendering the novella un-steamy and unworthy of its predecessors. It's autopilot reading - a man seducing a woman who can't keep up. Not very fun.

Sure, I want my money back. But still, there's no denying two, at least, of the three stories are fun, sexy romps. They aren't too much on the emotional side, but take it from me - there's nothing wrong with a few hours of top notch sexual tension. This is pure wholesome fun, whipped cream and kinky underwear optional.

Rating: 88

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