BEHIND THE RED DOORS Vicki Lewis Thompson, Stephanie Bond, Leslie Kelly
Harlequin
ISBN: 0-373-83569-8
January 2003
Contemporary Romance

Three authors have joined forces to pen three sizzling romances that center around that greatest of romantic holidays.  All share the focal meeting point of The Red Doors an upscale shopping boutique that offers aromatherapy, jewelry, and lingerie to its shoppers.  In each story, one couple will be given the opportunity to find out first hand that dreams do come true, and for some even on Valentine's Day.

Chicago, Illinois Modern Day

HEAVEN SCENT Vicki Lewis Thompson

Jamie Ruskin, manager of Heaven Scent at The Red Doors, has been a tomboy and a bookworm all of her life.  Lately she has become the go-to lady for technological ways of making the store an attractive place to shop.  Jamie's up-and-coming ideas to bring in more business for The Red Doors are quickly garnering the attention and clientele, both female and male, that a new boutique needs to stay afloat.

None of this is making her heart's dream come true for Dev Sherman to notice her for the woman she is, not the business partner he's known. 

When local storefronts and buildings start decorating for Valentine's Day, and love seems to be at every corner for this most romantic holiday, Jamie takes fate into her own hands and decides to become the type of woman Dev will notice. Under the advice of trusted friends at The Red Doors, Jamie concentrates her efforts at gaining his attention in a fashion she's not used to this time, he will pay attention.

So what if she's not a woman used to sitting around in garter belts and corsets...

"Let's get this party started!" should be Ms. Thompson's motto.  Already known for a rather large backlist which I have most of the lady is a pure dynamo in the fiction world.  A guaranteed entertaining read, "Heaven Scent" is the perfect kick-off for BEHIND THE RED DOORS.   

DIAMOND MINE Stephanie Bond


This Valentine's Day it will be a year ago that Faith Sherman got into a cab and rode away from Carter Grayson, the man she'd started to fall in love with regardless of his habit of being late for their dates.  Her parting shot that he was not commitment material will forever echo in her mind.  Nonetheless, she considers it a coup if she doesn't stop to think about him every hour. 

When her shop, The Diamond Mine, begins to display the world-famous Valentino diamond in her storefront, Faith decides that around-the-clock security is necessary.  Never did she expect that Carter Grayson would walk back into her life as the man to guard her... uh, assets. 

Laid up on light duty at the precinct, Lieutenant Carter Grayson can't get over this latest assignment.  He's further flummoxed when he finds out that his job will be at Faith Sherman's request.  Oh, she didn't ask for him per se, but now he's back and this time he'll show her that he is a man who can stick around for the long haul. 

Stephanie Bond never fails to entertain me and deserves to be an auto-buy.  I guarantee you'll enjoy this little appetizer. 

SHEER DELIGHTS Leslie Kelly

Tony Santori meets his fantasy girl on a computer screen.  While holiday shopping for his sister-in-law at The Red Doors, Tony stops by the kiosks the boutique is popular for:  confidential shopping on their computer-ordering system for those a bit wary of stepping foot in a lingerie shop.  There, on the computer screen she stands, in a steamy blue negligee.  She is the woman he'd always mentally compared every other woman to, always disappointed when none measured up.

Who would've thought that he'd become that very woman's knight in shining armor?

Humiliated and devastated that her digital facial photo is being used on display to advertise the shop's sinfully-there merchandise, Meg O'Rourke quietly sits in the adjoining kiosk, sobbing her heart out.  When a dark, handsome stranger appears out of nowhere and comes to her rescue, Meg loses a little piece of her heart.  Even if she knows deep down that she is not the type of woman to bring this type of man to his knees, it still makes her knees wobble that he seems to care.

Ok, so he didn't come in on a charging stallion...  But who's counting?

Leslie Kelly's "Sheer Delights" is an absolute treat for readers to nibble on.  Who can't help but love a story that features the hero riding in to save the day, and Tony Santori does his fair share don't you just love Italian men?  I've also just discovered a new author for me to add to my must-buy list... <g>

Each story in BEHIND THE RED DOORS lends a helping hand to what makes for a wonderful anthology with which to while away an afternoon in front of the fireplace.  The novellas do not take place where one left off and so on, but each interacts with the others and gives certain features that occur in the first story a look from different viewpoints giving the whole a well-rounded feeling. 

Go grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage, your favorite afghan, and settle in for a very entertaining read that will surely bring a smile to your face.

Amy Cunningham