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Jane Blackwood: The Sexiest Dead Man Alive

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Zebra (Paperback), ISBN 0-8217-7615-0

Book: jane blackwood, the sexiest dead man alive
Rose Pisano scrimps and saves to fulfill her lifelong dream -- owning her own restaurant. She loves cooking, but working at a local restaurant doesn't bring in much, even if she resigns herself to a tiny, shabby apartment. So when she spots an ad for a personal chef -- with an expensive salary -- she sends in her resume. The interview nearly changes her mind. Instead of meeting the boss, directions take her to a phone in front of a video camera -- which leads her to suspect that the boss must be disfigured, a Phantom of the Opera-like character. Despite herl qualms, the money -- and the boss's oh-so-sexy voice -- lures her to accept.

She eventually adapts to interacting via phone and video with the boss, feeling at ease enough to tease and banter with him. But a mishap with a security guard sends her into his lair in search of help, only to bring herself face to face with a man presumed dead for two years.

Grammy-winning singer Declan McDonald vanished two years ago after the death of his brother in a car accident. He merely intended to take some time out of the spotlight. But when people believed him dead, he let it ride, living like a recluse in a sparsely decorated mansion in Connecticut. Initially angry at Rose for invading his space, he eventually cools down, and the pair lapse into an easy friendship, albeit one tinged with lust. Rose realizes she faces a big heartache, but she believes she can keep her feelings under wraps. Declan also finds himself attracted to the sweet chef, and the pair begin a sexual relationship.

But Declan couldn't entirely give up his music. During his seclusion, Declan wrote songs for terminally ill children. One girl's mother, deeply moved by the song, hires a private investigator to track down the songwriter to thank him or her. Eventually, the investigator discovers Declan's not-dead status and tries to get Rose to admit it.

Fleeing the investigator, Rose ends up in a car accident, which draws Declan out of his mansion for the first time. The publicity and paparazzi machine fires up, and Declan pushes Rose away to protect her from intrusion into her privacy. Angry at him -- and at herself for allowing herself to fall in love -- Rose milks the attention to generate buzz for the restaurant she plans to open. But everything feels empty without Declan.

Despite the original slightly creepy feeling the reader gets about Declan and his reclusiveness, Jane Blackwood justifies his behavior with a tragic backstory and protective nature. Also, Rose's sudden media savvy comes as a nice surprise. Instead of freaking out by photographers and reporters stalking her, she simply uses them to her advantage. Blackwood crafts smart and snappy dialogue, especially for Rose, which makes reading a breeze and fun. An excellent read for a lazy day.

Jen Foote

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