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Since her divorce two years before, Kelsie Collins has been determined to guard her heart and steer clear of seemingly ‘perfect’ men. An easy task considering the kind of men her matchmaking mother and her best friend, Nanci, keeps setting her up with. She allows them to set her up, knowing their hearts are in the right place and that there is no risk of her letting any man close enough to hurt her again. Her growing experience in ways to slip out of those ‘dates from hell’ prompts her to start writing a bad date survival guide. One aptly titled – OPERATION: DATE ESCAPE. And it’s during one of those escapes that sexier than sin firefighter Cole Maxwell comes to her rescue.
Cole isn’t sure what to think when the sexy redhead he’s just ‘rescued’ from a bad date informs him that he’s too ‘perfect’ to date. That’s a first. He’s had relationships end because the women couldn’t handle the risks that go along with his chosen profession, but never because he’s too perfect.
When his crew gets called out to rescue someone who is stuck in a tree, Cole finds himself once again coming to Kelsie’s rescue. This time he’s not about to let her get away without agreeing to give him a chance, even holding her high heels hostage to make it happen. She finally gives in and things heat up between them like a 3-alarm fire. But there’s more than passion between them and Cole sets out to prove to Kelsie that he’s nowhere near ‘perfect’, but he is the ‘perfect’ man for her. Can he get past the wall she’s built up around her heart? Or will he end up being just another chapter in her book of men she ran from?
*Operation: Date Escape was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist as well as a finalist in the American Title III Competition put on by Romantic Times and Dorchester Publishing.*
“Admit it, Nanci. My mother asked you to check up on me, didn’t she?”
“Now why would you think…? Oh, hell. Yes, I admit your mother suggested I call to see how things are going with you when she called me five minutes ago.”
At least, her mother was bothering someone else beside her. She’d already had to deal with her mother’s pre-date pep talk. One she had come to know by heart. Show a lot of leg. Wear something sexy that accentuates your figure. And smile a lot. Her mother obviously had her confused with one of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy bunnies. Something she was not.
“The date’s still on if that’s what you two are worried about.”
“Don’t be silly. We’re not worried,” her friend replied, but she didn’t sound very confident. “I mean what woman in her right mind would cancel a dinner date with a hottie like Cole Maxwell?”
Kelsie made her way around the bed. If she were in her right mind, she would.
“So are you really going to do it?” Nanci asked.
“Do what?” she asked as she stepped over to the dresser. Knowing her friend, ‘do it’ could have a whole lot of connotations to it. Phone perched between her cheek and shoulder, she began gathering up all her discarded purses.
“You know,” Nanci said. “Wear that lace thong you bought at Victoria’s Secret.”
“If you’re referring to this thing I have hiked halfway up my butt crack, then yes, I’m wearing it.”
“Ooh, I didn’t think you’d do it. The calendar stud is going to love it!”
She carried the armful of purses back into the walk-in closet and returned them to their storage box. “Well, that would make one of us.”
“Oh, come on. They’re not that bad. And guys love them.”
“Then let the men wear them.”
“Actually, there was this one guy I dated who was fascinated by my underwear. Not the ones on me, but the ones in my drawer. It seems he was into wearing women’s thongs.”
“Eeew,” Kelsie said with a shudder.
“My thoughts exactly. Needless to say, I dumped his ass. I mean I don’t mind sharing my dessert with a guy. Or even my deodorant. But my panties are off limits.”
“I don’t think I have to worry about Cole wanting to wear my thong.”
“Just wanting to get into it?”
“He can want all he wants. But he isn’t getting in or even getting a peek at my underwear.” Of course, he might if she didn’t hurry up and decide on something to wear on their date.
This was such a fun book. All women go thru that bad date, family member, friend that fixes us up with someone. That someone that is in no way right for us. We sit their either staring at the date wondering what the HELL our friend/family member was thinking. Forget questioning out sanity we start questioning the sanity of the person that set us up.
Being divorced myself, I found lots of humor thru out this book. From Kelsie escaping out a bathroom window to having her date think she hurt herself while rollerblading. I personally only had one problem with the book. I understand the character and it should not be any different. But I truly disliked how Melinda kept trying to tell Kelsie she needed breast implants. Sorry a mother should tell their child they look great no matter what. A parent should never degrade the appearance of their children.
Kelsie is afraid of commitment. she had been badly hurt before by her ex. (I so know the feeling.) When Cole tries to show Kelsie that is he is interested in more than just a casual relationship by telling her he loves her or asking her to spend the night Kelsie is scare. She is not just scared she freaks out. She is to afraid to allow anyone back into her heart. It has been broken before and she feels that no man is worth the price to put it back together for a second time.
If you are looking for a fun read on those cold autumn nights then this is a great book to curl up with.
Thanks for such an interesting read Lindsey.
The bunnies and I give this book carrots.
Romance author Lindsey Brookes grew up reading romance novels. She penned her first romance, a historical, at the age of seventeen. From there she went on to join Romance Writers of America where she learned the ins and outs of the publishing business and ways to hone her craft. She switched to writing contemporary romance and has finalled in/or won more than 75 RWA chapter sponsored contests with over a dozen different manuscripts. She is also a four time RWA Golden Heart finalist as well as a past American Title III finalist and winner of Harlequin’s Great American Romance Novel contest. She’s married to her childhood sweetheart, her hero, with whom she has two beautiful daughters.