>> Monday, January 13, 2003
I'd been saving Fabulous Beast, by Jayne Ann Krentz for a special ocasion. I don't know why I'd been doing it, since I only knew the bare plot and hadn't heard anything about it on-line, but this time my instincts were right and it was just as good as I was hoping it would be. My first A+ of the year.
This one was written in 1984, under her Stephanie James pseudonym. However, it didn't feel at all dated to me. Being a category book, this one's very focused on the main romance and the suspense subplot is very light, only enough to set up Dev and Tabitha's story.
"Tabitha Graham is on a cruise looking for a little adventure. Recently divorced from a bad marriage (he was on rebound and soon found girl wanted him back), her ego has been scarred by the marriage, leaving her doubting herself in many areas.
She rescues Dev Colter in a back alley - she thinks he is a mugged tourist - but he is actual a secret agent. Due to his weakened state of being beaten, Tabby takes care of him and helps him back to the ship. He likes the softness and womanly tenderness he sees in her and encourages Tabby in this mistaken belief he is a mild, almost shy man.
Needless to say, Tabby is not happy when she finds the man she 'understands so well' because they are so much alike, is nothing like he man she created in her mind. But Dev knows Tabby likes fanciful beasts like dragons and unicorns - so he is out to convince her a live 'beastie' is even more thrilling to trap."
I adored both Dev and Tabitha. Tabby might have been a stereotypical heroine, insecure because of a bad first marriage, but she felt real to me. And she was satisfyingly pragmatic. I loved how she set out to seduce Dev, and how she then decides to forget him. The scene that follows, when Dev finds a "younger man" asleep in her living room, was great fun.
What I liked the most about Dev was that he really did seem to want to be the guy Tabby mistook him for. This added a yummy vulnerable dimension to this tough secret agent.
Anyway, I realize I'm being barely coherent about this book, but it's one of those which just hit you right and you don't really know why. Everything came together here, and JAK even had me liking a "forced seductioney" scene near the end of the book, which is something I usually despise.