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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


****½ Nightcap by Kathleen O'Reilly. Contemporary romance.

Whoops. I did it again--read a series book out of order. This is the third in the "Those Sexy O'Sullivans." I'm pretty sure the previous two are in my TBR pile.

Ah, well. It didn't seem to make any difference in my enjoyment of Nightcap. The other O'Sullivans were in the story, but I didn't get bashed over the head with "these characters have stories of their own!" or with hints of stuff I'd missed.

Sean O'Sullivan is a medical malpractice lawyer and part-owner of a bar along with his brothers. Gabe, who runs it, has been having one regulatory problem after another, and it appears that someone in City Hall is out to shut them down. So Sean, with his legal expertise and his history of knowing everyone and being able to charm most of them, tackles deputy mayor Cleo Hollings to solve the problem.

Cleo's overworked and sleep deprived, and there's a transit strike going on. She doesn't have time for petty problems, much less for being charmed. But Sean isn't one to take "no" for an answer.

They start a tentative physical relationship in stolen moments during the day, but it's not enough, and Sean is getting increasingly concerned about how she spends her nights and weekends. The reader knows that Cleo is caring for her mom, who has Alzheimer's, and she's keeping mum about it because a previous boyfriend made her choose.

I had a little trouble warming up to Cleo initially, even once I found out she was taking care of her mother. It was only once she showed some vulnerability that I could like her. Too, it was hard for me to understand her feelings about not wanting to find a supervised place for her mom to live, or even to hire full-time help. If money had been the problem, it would have been more understandable for me, but it wasn't. I finally decided it was a different relationship than I have with my mom (or than my mother-in-law had with her mother, who only stayed a few weeks with her daughter once she became unable to live on her own, then decided on an assisted-living complex). And Cleo does have the very common superwoman complex, thinking she needs to do everything, completely on her own.

Sean was a wonderful hero. Though he was a charmer, he was also vulnerable where Cleo was concerned. He didn't really have any issues, but that's okay, because this was Cleo's book, and he was just what she needed.

I'm sure I've said it before, but I'll risk repeating myself: Kathleen O'Reilly writes great category romances. She has a real knack for the shorter length, and her books feel neither rushed nor shallow. She manages to fit complete, satisfying romance novels in those slim volumes and include character development and growth and convincing emotion, as well as subplots. Nightcap is no exception. For example, Cleo's mother's condition was well-developed, as was its effect, emotional and otherwise, on both Cleo and her uncle. I don't buy many categories, but O'Reilly's are on my must-buy list.

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Completely agree with you on Kathleen O'Reilly. She's fantastic. Sex, Straight Up is the best of this trilogy, IMHO :)
Oh, good to know. I've put that next on my TBR pile.
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