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Private Arrangements by Brenda Jackson
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's review
Apr 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: reviews-by-judith

Another branch of the Steele Clan surfaces in this story--a brother who is determined to live the single life with gusto and for the rest of his life. He loves women--lots and lots of women, so why even think of paring that down to one. How can one woman keep him happy anyway? Yet Jonas Steele is a man who can't seem to get one woman out of his mind after a soul-stealing kiss 18 months earlier. Now he encounters her again and renews that intimate embrace when he receives the word that his marketing firm has been given a major account and he wants Nikki to be his official photographer.

Now Nikki is a woman of color who respects herself too much to get involved with Jonas. His loving wouldn't be very loving at all--she doesn't want the two-ships-in-the-night kind of encounters and in spite of the fact that he turns her bones to water, he's just not for her. That is, until he proposes a "private arrangement" for the two week duration of their publicity tour with the company employing Jonas' firm. Nikki knows now that she has fallen for this man and that she must walk away with broken heart in hand, no matter when that might occur, so she takes the plunge, believing that this well may be the only time in her life when she can "pretend" to be in love--that's his proposal: pretending to be in love for two weeks. It may be pretense for him but it won't be for her. And there's the rub.

This is another fun read from an author who has delighted her readers with novels about this family and its myriad branches. Characters from the other family branches make a token appearance in all her books and in this one as well. As is often the case, her stories revolve around characters who know and appreciate the presence and stability of family and long-time friends. Yet there is something missing--it's as if the main character must differentiate him or herself by living a free and easy lifestyle while remaining closely tied to family. Jonas is just such a person. There is almost always a character, whether hero or heroine, who is determined not to "play" for the rest of their lives, who may not have any prospects on the immediate horizon, but who is determined to hold out for the real thing in romance. There is also some very erotic loving and Ms Jackson doesn't back away or try to hide that aspect of the story. But the sexual doesn't take over--rather, the deeper relationship is the thing.

This is a fun book--not necessarily fluffy or insubstantial; it is certainly about serious relationship. But it is not a long novel and can easily be read in one or two sittings and is very entertaining. I like Ms Jackson's writing and have enjoyed a number of her books. I like to be able to intersperse the longer, heavier, more emotional reads with these books from authors like Ms Jackson and find that they fill a need and a space in my schedule. Those of us who have a long-standing relationship as readers of Harlequin books will find this a very nice addition to their line-up.

This review was originally posted on Book Binge by Judith.

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