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Designing Woman by Elaine Raco Chase

Designing Woman (Candlelight Ecstasy, #72) - Elaine Raco Chase

Brandy (B. J.) Abbott is an architect. Well, she was until she quit, being unable to take her boss’s schemes and chauvinism any longer. She helps her older half-brother out for a bit at his fancy restaurant (one she designed) while hunting around for a new job. She still has to complete her internship in order to get her architect license. Her brother gives her a lead: Mr. Griffen St. Clair is looking for an architect to design the condos he plans to put in on Daytona Beach. There will be fireworks between Brandy and St. Clair.

It was a quick read and it was cute. While I read a wide range of genres, I have to admit I have yet to fall in love with the contemporary romance genre. With that said, this book held my interest long enough to finish it mostly because of the humor. It’s a sweet romance full of misunderstandings and two people toying with fantasies.

From various things speckled throughout the story, I think this novel is set in the 1980s or so. Smoking is prevalent, including in restaurants. Brandy goes on and on about the male dominated architect world. There’s no cell phones.

For the first half of the book, the reader doesn’t have confirmation that Griffen, a random guy who overheard Brandy arguing with her boss, is the same Mr. St. Clair who praises her (B. J. Abbott) over the phone on her portfolio. But since it is in the book’s blurb, and it is also pretty obvious in the plot, I feel OK mentioning it here.

Now Mr. St. Clair has a really low voice over the phone that B. J. Abbott (the only name St. Clair knows her by) finds very sexy. But when they bump into each other in a restaurant (Brandy is playing hostess and Griffen is getting a drink), they don’t recognize each other at all. Now since their professional relationship has been solely by phone at this point, I was OK with it. But as they keep interacting in person and they don’t put it together, I found that a little bit of a stretch. Since it lead to comedic relief later, I can live with it.

The book has a lot of teasing and flirting. Eventually we get to some steamier scenes, which I liked. The characters eventually have sex at the end of the book, which is a rather brief scene and not particularly descriptive. So if you are looking for a sweet pretty clean romance featuring a career-oriented woman and a man bent on reforming her wanton ways, this is a pretty good read. My personal tastes are for spicy rather than sweet, but don’t let that deter you if this book sounds like fun. It was well written, the pacing was good, with a nice mix of reality, flirtation, comedy, and (eventually) steam.

The Narration: Sheila Book was a good pick for Brandy’s voice. She had a lovely sultry voice for the character, that could also be crisp and professional as the story demanded. Girffen St. Clair is suppose to have a deep, masculine voice and I felt that was a stretch for the narrator.