Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nightcap by Kathleen O'Reilly ****

I'm almost done with the third story in the Sexy O'Sullivan trilogy.

OK, I'm done now. This was a fun read, even though Sean wasn't really my favorite O'Sullivan brother (Gabe was). Sean was the hard-driving hound dog lawyer, who did all the women - especially women in a position of power. Like, health inspectors and secretaries or co-workers of other people who could help out him or his brothers or the bar. He had women left and right throughout the first 2 books, in the bar bathroom, wherever, usually with an ulterior motive other than sex.

He was also a man who had been currying favors forever and a day, and in the end everybody owed him a favor or two.

When Prime (the family bar, co-owned by the brothers) was being hassled over building permits and health issues and anything the city could throw at them, Sean picked one hot female Deputy Mayor, Cleo Hollings, as his next victim target. He planted himself in her way and pled his case.

Cleo was a woman who saw herself as Cleopatra, powerful, in charge, in control. Of Everything. In her mind, she should be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Everything about her was all business and tough as nails. The Wicked Witch of Murray Street. She and Sean were a good match - they lived their lives in 15 minute and 30 minute segments, whether it was getting together, going to meetings, handling the city or handling personal things.

Of course, Cleo had some personal issues that she wasn't willing to share, not with Sean, not with her staff, not with anyone. The most obvious was that she was caretaker for her mother who suffers from Alzheimer's. The least obvious was her experience earlier in life with relationships, someone named Danny (whose backstory was never exactly explained.)

Sean senses a real soul mate in Cleo, something he really wasn't expecting in a ball-busting, steel-spined female politician. He even says to her early on she's the other half of him - sounds suspiciously like "you complete me", doesn't it? He pushes her - in a series of voice mails, and in his increasing presence - to open up, let him in, share. She pushes back, rejecting him as being one responsibility too many. Well, not really him, but the responsibility of loving then losing him is just one thing too many for her plate-juggling life. She's not sure she can survive it, so she fights him tooth and nail.

The writing style interestingly reflects their life style - it's staccato, rapid-fire, big-city rush-hour. Sitting here on my futon out in the middle of nowhere, high desert Arizona, it made me tired just reading it. I could practically smell the bus fumes and hear the rush hour horns and see everyone rushing in and out of office buildings. They lived on caffeine and 2 hours of sleep and stolen moments.

I wasn't 100% sure I loved this one until I got to the epilogue. I was feeling a little pushed - Cleo was a hard woman for me to like, or even to admire, and Sean wasn't exactly the most honorable hero I've read in his dealings with women. And then I read the epilogue. I have to say, I'm not sure I've read an epilogue quite like it - it wrapped up everyone's lives, more than 40 years' worth in under 2 pages, and it made me smile and even laugh out loud. I was reminded why I read - to feel, and importantly, when it's over, to feel good. And I did - 4 stars.

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