Sunday, May 18, 2008

Be My Baby by Susan Andersen *****

Be My Baby, Susan Andersen.

I'm on a Susan Andersen kick, and I think Be My Baby is my favorite so far. For one thing, it takes place in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). And Andersen pretty much got it right - the accents, Irish Channel and Yat, and how they ate and generally the mood of the city. She got the French Quarter pretty much right - well, Bourbon Street anyway. Ok there were a couple of things I thought didn't fit (for one thing, the 11 o'clock news? Who has 11 o'clock news - maybe the East coast? For another, there are no tomatoes in jambalaya, really!) Her characters were fun, even the villain(s) had me laughing. I mean, the Panty Snatcher, really! And as usual, her love scenes are hot.

The heroine is Juliet, a blue blood Bostonian, in New Orleans to open an exclusive hotel in what was formerly a Garden District mansion. Her family owns the hotel along with a string of other high class hotels, and this is her first chance to show what she can do in the family business. The hero is Beau Dupree, a Yat cop, assigned to be her body guard after she receives a threatening letter about the hotel. Ok, it's more of a warning than a threat, from someone interested in keeping the mansion historically preserved and not made into a hotel. But her Daddy has some leverage because of his wealth, and the police department has a politically aware Acting Chief who makes Beau do it even though it seems ridiculous.

Beau had to raise his sisters after their parents' deaths - this is a scenario I've seen before (SEP's First Lady, anyone?) - so he's had his fill of family life and is looking forward to some bachelor fantasy life that doesn't include an uptight society Yankee. Juliet gets a whiff of life without Daddy and Grandmother telling her what to do, and loses some of her stiffness, but still doesn't fit the fantasies Beau has, or does she?

Beau spends some time trying to get Juliet to have him removed from the job - until someone shoots at her (or him?) and he decides it is a credible threat after all. Now he's on her like white on rice. Well, once they're living in each other's pockets, what else can you expect to happen? Immediate attraction.

I did have to laugh at myself (well, I laughed a lot during this book - she used some great lines that had me howling out loud - like Beau's t-shirt with the slogan Call 911 and Make a Cop Come) when suddenly I was aware that during their first, uh, intimate encounter, no mention was made of any kind of birth control - and then the hero is going, uh-oh, no condom... I've gotten so used to that being an issue in contemporary romance, I guess, that I raised an eyebrow, thinking "how irresponsible was that?" And hey, I was right.

There were lots of happily-ever-afters in this story, for Juliet and Beau, for Beau's sisters and his partner, even for Juliet's assistant - that was fun too. (sure beats killing off the secondary characters, like Marsha Canham did in Blood of Roses! What a shock.)

I kept being reminded of my own grandmother when she described hers - well, not exactly the same, but yeah - she corrected our pronunciations (elocution, anyone?) from "git" to "g-eh -t" and "pin" to "p-eh-n", and tried to make us be ladies with better posture and manners and all that crap. I guess since we did have parents who weren't quite as adamant about it, her lessons didn't have the same impact. Plus we weren't blue blood anyway.

well, as for Be My Baby - definitely 5 stars and a keeper.

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