Lip Service

Suzanne Simmons, Author St. Martin's Press $6.5 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-97299-8
Readers weary of the overblown internal conflicts that fuel many romances will appreciate the subtle hand Simmons (Lady's Man) employs to draw a relationship that burns with a delicious sexual tension. Well-to-do curator Schuyler Grant and Trace Ballinger, an attorney with a rough past, are brought together after the death of Schuyler's wealthy aunt Cora. The two meet en route to Grantwood, the Grant family's Hudson River Valley estate, when a strange car bumps Schuyler's Ferrari off the road. While their initial meeting is less than auspicious, the unlikely couple grow more affectionate as they investigate the mystery surrounding Cora's final request to transfer the crumbling Grantwood castle to Schuyler and ""lay the ghosts to rest."" The problematic request is made all the more puzzling by some strange goings-on at the mansion that indicate that someone may be trying to harm Schuyler. Although the premise of this cozy investigation may seem far-fetched at times, the spicy romance acts as the narrative's driving force. The secondary characters--a cook named Mrs. Danvers, two elderly and eccentric spinster neighbors, another who carries his dog in his pocket and a 90-year-old gardener--flesh out the story by providing humor and depth. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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