THE RED DIARY

Toni Blake, Author . Warner Forever $5.99 (420p) ISBN 978-0-446-61486-3

In this debut mainstream romance from Harlequin Temptations author Blake (Hotbed Honey , etc.), a racy journal inspires sexual adventure. Longing for love and excitement, rich girl Lauren Ash commits her erotic desires to a velvet-covered diary, which is surreptitiously read by painter Nick Armstrong as he works on her Florida home. Unbeknownst to Lauren, her wealthy builder father once betrayed Nick's dad. Nick violates Lauren's privacy intending revenge, but he can't resist using the diary to seduce her instead. Lauren melts at Nick's uncanny understanding of her needs, while he is won over by her tenderness and sensuality. Abundant diary excerpts slow the story's momentum and never ring true: surely no 27-year-old would use words like "thrice" or "lave," or phrases like "soaking in every glorious affection my woodland lover imparts." Only in the second half of the book do the couple's frantic gyrations slow long enough for them to connect in a warm, meaningful way. Unfortunately, few readers may make it past the purple prose that mars the early part of the story. Agent, Deidre Knight. (Sept.)

Forecast: A vivid cover, low price and blurbs from the likes of Lori Foster should win romance readers in droves. The title's similarity to the racy Red Shoe Diaries videos will also appeal to erotica fans, though the latter group may find Lauren's diary more silly than sensual.

Reviewed on: 07/26/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-227692-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 372 pages - 978-0-06-222957-1
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-222958-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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