From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz--the second novel in a dramatic trilogy set in breathtaking Eclipse Bay, a town filled with rivalries as fierce and compelling as the rugged Oregon coast....
Nothing was ever simple between a Madison and a Harte. The feud that had divided their families still simmered. Now, only months after their siblings' wedding, Lilian Harte and Gabe Madison are at each other's throats.
Successful CEO Gabe had insisted on becoming a client of Lilian's matchmaking service. And after five disastrous dates, Lilian is at her wit's end. If she hadn't already decided to close her business and move home to Eclipse Bay, Gabe would have been the final straw. But when she finds Gabe at her door demanding she fulfill their business contract, the sparks between them suddenly turn personal. Once again, Eclipse Bay will witness a showdown--between a relentless Madison and an irresistible Harte...
The second installment of Krentz's Harte-Madison trilogy (following Eclipse Bay) attempts to close the rift that formed several generations ago between the prosperous Hartes and the reckless Madisons. Lillian Harte plans to give up her computer matchmaking business to devote her life to painting, but she has one final client to "fire" steely Gabe Madison. Gabe has already broken with his heritage by building a billion-dollar venture-capital company, and now he wants a wife, one who is financially independent, good-looking and definitely not an "arty" type. When Gabe learns that Lillian is closing her business, he insists that she fulfill her contractual obligation to him. He even follows her home to Eclipse Bay, Ore., supposedly to collect on their broken agreement. While they smolder in the usual Harte-Madison fashion, a sex therapist who is into bikini panties and submission tries to steal Lillian's database of high-end clients. This silly subplot detracts from the romance, and it's a shame that Krentz (aka Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle), who is such a master of sexual tension and intelligent banter, has weighed this romantic puff pastry down with such a leaden attempt at mystery. (May 1)Forecast: Although the Romantic Times has claimed that romantic suspense novels are "out" and romantic comedies are "in," Krentz's romantic suspense novels have been, and still are, selling exceedingly well. This frivolous but entertaining romp should be no exception.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 30, 2001
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Excerpt from Dawn in Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz
"Fire me?" Gabe Madison came to a halt in the center of the carpet. Disbelief warred with outrage on his hard face. "You can't fire me. I'm a client. You don't fire clients."
"I do." Lillian Harte sat very stiffly behind her sleek, Euro-style desk, her hands clasped firmly atop the polished glass surface. She struggled to hold on to what was left of her temper. "I've been downsizing for the past few months."
"Downsizing is for getting rid of employees, not customers. What's the matter with you? You're supposed to be running a matchmaking business here." Gabe swept out a hand to indicate the expensively furnished office and the skyline of the city of Portland, Oregon, beyond. "You need clients. You want clients. You don't fire them."
"Some clients are more trouble than they're worth."
He narrowed dangerously green eyes. "And I'm one of them, is that it?"
"I'm afraid so." She unclasped her hands and leaned back in her chair. "Look, I'm sorry about this. Really."
"Oh, yeah, I can see that." His smile was cold.
"This was a mistake, Gabe. I told you that when you talked me into letting you sign on with Private Arrangements. I explained that it probably wouldn't work out well. But you refused to take no for an answer."
Which was hardly a major shock, she thought. It was a good bet that Gabe had not overcome his wild Madison family legacy to build Madison Commercial, a very successful venture capital firm, by taking no for an answer. Only a Harte, such as herself, could fully appreciate the magnitude of his accomplishment. Only a Harte knew just how far Gabe had had to go in order to live down three generations of spectacularly failed potential to rebuild an empire.
Her father had frequently speculated that Gabe had been successful because he had mastered the art of self-
discipline, a rare accomplishment for a Madison. But in the few weeks that he had been a Private Arrangements client she had begun to suspect that Gabe had done more than merely learn how to control the notoriously hot blood that ran in his veins. He had subdued it with such ruthlessness that she suspected he had also crushed a lot of perfectly normal emotions along with it. As far as she could tell, he did not allow himself any strong feelings. She was convinced that he had paid a far higher price for his personal triumphs than anyone had realized.
Gabe smiled with relative ease, but he didn't laugh out loud. He didn't seem to know how to have fun. She had seen him annoyed, as he was now, but she had never seen him lose his temper. Her feminine intuition told her that he was very definitely attracted to women, but she was pretty sure that he did not permit himself to cross the line that separated physical satisfaction from mind-spinning passion. She was willing to bet that Gabe Madison had never allowed himself to take the risk of falling in love.
And he had expected her to find him a wife? Not a chance.
"It wasn't a mistake on my part," Gabe said. "I knew exactly what I was doing and what I wanted when I signed on with you. You're the one who made the mistakes. Five of them, so far."
"The fact that all five of the dates that I arranged for you went bad, should tell both of us something," she said, trying for a soothing note.
"It tells me something, all right. It tells me that you screwed up five times."
She had known that this would be a difficult conversation but she had not expected him to be quite so rigid about the matter. After all, it was obvious that the project had not been a success. One would have thought that he would have been content with merely demanding that his money be refunded.
His icy determination not to be dismissed from her client roster was starting to make her a little uneasy. Belatedly it occurred to her that Gabe was accustomed to fighting for what he wanted.