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Stuck On You    by Patti Berg order for
Stuck On You
by Patti Berg
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Scarlett O'Malley has plenty of reasons to be mistrustful of men. Her dad, famed mystery writer, Edgar O'Malley, dumped his family years before. Then handsome Adam Grant breezed into Plentiful Wyoming and quickly charmed Scarlett's mother. Unfortunately their honeymoon didn't last long. Grant's smooth lies and sneaking around drove Scarlett's mother to an untimely death. Townsfolk labelled her crazy and then draped that same unflattering mantle on Scarlett's shoulders. These days Scarlett O'Malley runs Plentiful's only bookshop, A Study in Scarlett, and every Tuesday morning presides over a mystery reading group dubbed 'The Sleuths'. Scarlett and her four elderly cohorts have been accused of imagining trouble around every corner, or emanating from any stranger who hits town. The fact that Scarlett andThe Sleuths actually solved a couple of crimes that Sheriff Grant wasn't able figure out, hasn't improved the situation.

When a strange woman drops dead at Scarlett's feet while on the verge of delivering a message, Scarlett realises she's got another mystery on her hands and no amount of stonewalling by Sheriff Grant will stop her from finding out the truth about the mysterious Jane Doe. Logan Wolfe is another recent newcomer to Plentiful. When The Sleuths see him 'hanging all over' one of their friends, the nosy women are 100% certain the tall, dark and very dangerous-looking man in black is a conniving Lothario intent on taking advantage of rich widow Opal. A few days later Wolfe is seen removing what appears to be a bloodstained carpet from Opal's sprawling home. The snoopy Sleuths are positive 'The Big Bad Wolfe' has committed foul and heinous murder and it's up to Scarlett to prove them right. That very night she heads to the local landfill to see exactly what, or who, Wolfe dumped. But her investigation is nipped in the bud when an assortment of wild animals corner her and send her running for cover to Wolfe's nearby cabin.

Ever since spotting Scarlett O'Malley's enticing belly button ring up close and personal the dayJane Doe dropped dead in the bookstore, Logan Wolfe hasn't been able to get the gorgeous redhead out of his mind. Logan came to peaceful Plentiful to escape bitter memories and doesn't need a woman adding extra complications to his life. When Scarlett literally falls through his cabin window he's stunned and then angry as she spouts one ridiculous lie after another in an attempt to explain why she was lurking. Soon their simmering mutual attraction takes over and they're involved in a scorching affair. But Scarlett's continued mistrust of men quickly drives a wedge between them. Logan tells himself to get out of town, but when things begin to heat up with the Jane Doe investigation, he steps in to teach Scarlett proper investigative techniques. And then, once all the intrigue is over, he offers the stubborn and suspicious woman his heart and soul.

Patti Berg delights with her latest light-hearted romance, Stuck On You. Thoroughly engaging characters (including the wacky Sleuths), smart and sassy dialogue, and the small town atmosphere complete with a couple of mysteries thrown in, only add to the fun. Scarlett and Logan's sizzling attraction score big points too. Logan's 'animal magnetism' also adds a hilarious twist to the story as he lures cats, dogs and other assorted wild creatures out of the woods in droves, not with a flute, but rather via his horrible vocal renditions of Elvis classics. Stuck On You will indeed stick with you long after you've turned the last enjoyable page.

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