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Crescent Blues Book ViewsBET Books (Paperback), ISBN 1-58314-138-3
In Bettye Griffin's Love Affair, business turns into romance when Austin Hughes needs a wife to fulfill a business assignment. As a partner in a New York company that surveys hotels, Austin must maintain a certain image to remain anonymous while reporting the hotel conditions and service. For the latest project in West Africa, Desiree Mack, an employee from the Colorado office, lands the unexpected role to accompany her boss as his wife on a key assignment.

Book: Bettye Griffins, Love AffairAustin wastes no time showing Desiree the strength of his attraction with a kiss that leaves them both shaken and dangerously aroused. On assignment in Africa, they play the role of wedded couple while completing comprehensive surveys. During several weeks, they move from hotel to hotel struggling to keep their relationship purely professional and failing miserably.

Desiree constantly worries that once they return to the U.S. the relationship or whatever magic they created and shared in Africa will end. She convinces herself that this serves her interest, even if it breaks her heart in the process. In any event, she plans to work in Colorado, while Austin remains assigned to the headquarters in New York.

On their return to the U.S., Desiree succumbs to malaria. This provides the frantic Austin with the perfect excuse to keep her near him for a while longer. He admits to himself that he loves her and can't bear to be separated from her. But Austin intends to wait for the perfect opportunity -- away from the job, after Desiree recovers and after solving nagging business concerns -- to tell her what he feels for her.

Book: Bettye Griffin, At Long Last LoveGriffin tints the romance with a touch of suspense when Austin's company faces sabotage that threatens his relationship with his major clients. The mini-mystery does not develop or determine the outcome of the couple's relationship. It plays out so far in the background of the story that it does not engage the reader. The romance between Desiree and Austin would blossom and endure regardless of the suspense portion of the plot.

Griffin provides detailed, colorful descriptions that reflect either first-hand experience or extensive research. But she also includes too much information that falls under the category of "nice to know," which adds nothing to the momentum of the story. Despite these occasional meanderings, Griffin possesses a strong style and writes memorable characters.

Gabriella Samuels

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