Remember Summer
by Elizabeth Lowell, contemporary (1999)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-380-76761-9

My friend Grace told me that Elizabeth Lowell's early books have heroes so thick-headed and so obstinate that one needs explosives to make them see some sense. As Remember Summer is an expanded, rewritten version of - let me check - Summer Games, I'm also terrified to read this book without arming myself with an arsenal of firepower first. I have no idea how much extensively this book is rewritten, as I have not even heard of - much less read - the original book, but I must say this book is very good. Not as a romance, but as a thriller with a bit of romance thrown in. Yet somehow I never did feel shortchanged in the romance department, so I must say this book works for me just perfectly.

Actually, I guess this story is part of a bigger story. Raine "Baby" Chandler-Smith is an equestrian rider to compete in the upcoming Olympic Games. Her father is a government officer who, being not exactly on the Bad Guys United's Christmas bash invitation list, is worried that a nasty villian called Barracuda would take the opportunity to strike at her to get at him. He calls on some old buddies and ultimately has Cord Elliot, protector and superagent extraordinaire, protecting her.

Now, the story is your usual he-protects, she protests, they procreate variety. Nothing really special actually. But what I find wonderfully delicious is the fact these two people, Raine and Cord, are some of the most controlled, cool, and distant people I've ever read. Cord is so distrustful that he almost killed Raine when they first met. And he demanded proof of her identity. Likewise, Raine is a perfect ice princess: cold, calm, and controlled most of the time. Hence when they sizzle together, it only increases the temperature apparently by another two-hundredth fold. It is almost a sinful pleasure to watch them eventually succumb to their attraction. This book isn't exactly sensual, mind you, but the fact that these two cold ice statues actually melt and turn Vensuvius volcanoes on me in the bedroom give me the chills and tingles - the contrast between their outward behavior and that in the bedroom is fantastic.

I really don't find Raine or Cord that memorable, except for the said contrast of fire and ice. Yet for a few hours of uncomplicated, pure fun that gets my adrenaline all fired up (and believe me, at my age, I'll take all I can get), this book more than sufficed.

Rating: 86

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