Under Cover, by MaryJanice Davidson

>> Thursday, August 11, 2005

MaryJanice Davidson's Under Cover is an anthology containing three stories centering around biotech firm Anodyne.

Sweet Strangers - Renee Jardin is being pursued by the biotech firm, Anodyne, that she used to work for. She is accused of espionage and is on the run. When a government agent tracks her down she enlists his help to clear her name...and more.

Lovely Lies - Peter Random (security guard from the first story) finds a sleeping girl in the backseat of his car. He learns she is a reluctant heiress who is trying to outrun her evil stepfamily. She teaches Peter the meaning of life isn't money - there's so much more!

Delightful Deception - When Anodyne is taken over by boy-genius Dr. Jimmy Skrye, Dr. Thea Foster ("IQ"=ice queen) wonders how her life will change. She can't imagine...
Chatting with a fellow romance reader the other day, she mentioned Susan Napier's books are like mind candy for her. Well, Napier's books are positively deep compared to Under Cover. What am I saying, a puddle is deep compared to it! Which, amazingly enough, doesn't mean it was bad. Shallow and underdeveloped, it was, nonetheless, lots of fun and managed to have a couple of touching scenes. A B.

I think my favourite was the third story, which paired a genius heroine with a hero who was just as smart. I loved boy-genius Jimmy, hyper, clowny Jimmy, who was sexy as hell, IMO. And I adored that Ice Queen Thea wasn't this "Boo-hoo, I believe I'm frigid and no man will ever want me" ninny. Thea was very much take-charge with her sexuality, and confident in every aspect of her life. Her attack of doubts near the end felt a bit out of character, but that was short enough that it didn't much bother me.

The first story was good, too. Renée is fun, kick-ass and resourceful, and I loved how Eric fell so completely for her almost immediately. I kept thinking this was too quick, too break-neck, but I somehow bought the romance all the same.

The middle story wasn't so good. Peter was a fun character, the tough, macho guy who adores his ugly cat, but Lori... what a wimpy idiot. None of the stories had a particularly believable plot, but this one simply made no sense at all. Why the hell did her stepfather and brother think Lori was going to hand them her money just because they said so? Either they were brain-dead or Lori had showed herself to have no spine, and neither of those options make for a good story. And even during the story, why didn't stupid Lori just go to the police? For that matter, she really couldn't have been so much of an idiot that she wouldn't tell her mother what her husband was doing!!

And of course, all the stories are written in Davidson's very distintive voice. The negative is that every character sounds more or less the same (Thea and Jimmy are the only exeptions, they sound a teeny bit different), but on the whole, this is a voice I enjoy.

A fun, breezy read, perfect for the beach! ;-)


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