cover image Charmed


Beth Ciotta. Medallion Press, $6.99 (307pp) ISBN 978-1-932815-04-7

In Ciotta's enchanting contemporary romance, the sequel to Jinxed , FBI Agent Joe ""Bogie"" Bogart retains his friend Colin Murphy, a professional bodyguard, to protect Luciana ""Lulu"" Ross from a stalker with connections to organized crime. Guarding Lulu is complicated by Murphy's attraction to her zany innocence and her insistence that she continue her two jobs: performing as a princess at children's parties and juggling at a local casino. Retreating from her pledge to swear off men after a painful divorce, Lulu finds herself taking advice from her younger, more socially experienced (read: promiscuous) sister, Sofie, as she and Murphy embark on a fun and sexy affair. Humor is ever present in their relationship; at one point, Murphy rescues Lulu after she's drugged at a gay bar, and in another instance, he dons a troll suit to appear in Lulu's casino act at a pediatric ward. While Lulu's friends Rudy and Jean-Pierre, a gay couple, are charismatic characters, specific references to their relationship problems may be a turnoff for some romance fans. A suggestion of romantic tension between Sofie and Bogie paves the way for their tale to be told and, after reading this madcap romance, Ciotta's fans will undoubtedly look forward to that next installment. (Dec.)