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And Then He Kissed Me    by Patti Berg order for
And Then He Kissed Me
by Patti Berg
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Ex-TV star turned mystery writer Juliet Bridger is sick and tired of her shallow Tinsel Town lifestyle, even shallower friends and her conniving jailbird husband Garret who still seems to have it in for her. Most of all she's fed up with tabloid reporters, constantly hovering like hungry vultures just waiting for her to make one wrong move. In a desperate attempt to escape her cloying and increasingly unbearable existence and regain her sanity, Juliet dons a disguise, assumes a phony name and makes good her escape without anyone but her assistant any the wiser.

Juliet's car breaks down just outside of Plentiful Wyoming and it doesn't take long for help to arrive in the form of local veterinarian Cole Sheridan. He's having an incredibly bad day (a rancher vows to sue over the loss of a prize mare and foal and Nanny #13 is threatening to walk out on his 5 'hellion' nieces if he doesn't get home right away!) But, gentleman that he is, he tows Juliet into town and to Plentiful's lone repair shop. Despite having 101 things on his mind, Cole can't seem to forget the dark haired, gum-chewing beauty while at the same time telling himself he doesn't need a woman to add yet another complication to his already out-of-control life.

While Cole races home to try to smooth things over with the Nanny, Juliet learns it will take a few days to repair her car. When circumstances leave her penniless (a scoop-hungry reporter steals her wallet and ID) she's forced to apply for the Nanny position out at Doc Sheridan's sprawling ranch. How hard could watching a few kids all under the age of six be? During her interview she embellishes her background (she's a best-selling novelist after all) and lands the job. Though Cole is certain her kindergarten skills are sorely lacking, he's got a vet practice to run and is desperate to find somebody to keep an eye on his nieces.

Juliet and Cole are soon re-evaluating their first impressions of each other -- she decided he was a straight-laced grump and Cole labeled her a gum-snapping flake who's keeping secrets -- both are more than surprised when their dislike turns to attraction. Neither needs the extra complication of falling in love since Juliet has no intention of foisting her crazy and out of control lifestyle on anyone. And Cole keeps trying to convince himself he doesn't need a wife at this point in his life. But best laid plans often go awry in the name of love.

Patti Berg presents another smart, fun-filled, highly readable romance in And Then He Kissed Me. Cole and Juliet couldn't be more different and that's where the fun begins and the sparks fly. Adding to the often laugh-out-loud humour is the return of the incorrigible 'Sleuths', three octogenarians who love meddling in everyone's affairs and love match-making even more. Ms. Berg keeps the romance entertaining and the action hopping with the addition of a sub-plot involving someone with a vendetta against Juliet. Plentiful Wyoming is a wonderful backdrop and its citizens very appealing. Here's hoping Ms. Berg returns to the quaint mountain town very soon with another entertaining read.

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