Desert Isle Keeper Review

Tall Tales and Wedding Veils

Jane Graves
2008, Contemporary Romance
Grand Central, $6.99, 378 pages, Amazon ASIN 0446617873

Grade: A
Sensuality: Warm

Two strangers who meet in Las Vegas, gamble, hit it rich, get drunk and then end up married. Thatís the plot in a nutshell of Tall Tales and Wedding Veils, my first DIK for 2008. The plot is funny and fast paced and the characters are a total delight. This book is going to stay on my keeper shelf, my comfort read shelf and Iíll probably buy another copy.

Heather Montgomery is an accountant. Sheís thirty, a size 14, and has wildly curly hair which she keeps under strict control. She also possesses a wry, ironic outlook on life, which she sorely needs right now in order to be a bridesmaid in her cousin Reginaís wedding. Regina is a shallow young woman, engaged to a man whose best friend is his Blackberry. The bridesmaids are all Paris Hilton clones with anorexia, the bridesmaidís dresses are ugly (but designer) and Regina ordered Heatherís a size too small. In a couple of days, Heather, Regina and the bridesmaids are all going to Las Vegas for a party. Fun, fun Ė not.

One of Heatherís favorite places is McMillanís Ė a bar/restaurant where the drinks are reasonably priced, the food is good and the atmosphere is friendly. Heather and her friend Alison often go there to man watch Ė especially Tony McCafferty, who is handsome, charming, and always goes home with a different girl Ė one who looks like one of the bridesmaids. Tony plans to buy McMillanís, but the deal he'd put together falls apart after his friend Dave, in for $20,000, backs out. Tony is totally tapped out, so he decides to go to Las Vegas and try his luck.

Heather and Tony meet in Las Vegas. Heís had no luck at all, but she persuades him to let her try Ė after all, numbers are her business. Her initial streak of bad luck at the craps table changes when she wins big on the slots. They celebrate with a limo ride and champagne...lots and lots of champagne...and wake up in bed together.

Oh boy! It turns out that Tony and Heather got married. Since they woke up fully clothed, they decide theyíll get a quick annulment and no one will be the wiser. However, their plan is foiled when Heatherís mother calls. Seems Heather called her up last night to tell her about the marriage. Great Ė now Heather and Tony have to stay together for at least a little while. She did win him the money to buy the bar, after all. He proposes a month long marriage, followed by a quickie divorce.

Iíve mentioned that the plot of Tall Tales and Wedding Veils is fast-moving and funny and I laughed often as I read it. But Iíve read lots of fast moving and funny romances that werenít Desert Isle Keepers. Itís the characters who make this book very special.

Heather was a delight. She has a successful career and good friends and sheís far more intelligent than the vapid Regina, but, as Reginaís mom never lets her forget, she isnít married. In her head, Heather knows that she is successful, grounded and intelligent, but thereís a part of her that wants to be loved, to be considered beautiful and to see a man like Tony look on her with desire in his eyes.

Tony begins as a total hound. He seems to be a flippant player who uses women like tissues and discards them just as easily. Heís handsome as sin and seemingly shallow as a mud puddle. But as the book goes along and we (and Heather) get to know him we find that Tony is insecure and lonely; he wants to be loved as much as Heather does. Tonyís martinet of a father let him know that he disapproved of him and after his motherís death, there was no one who loved him. Tony and Heather make a wonderful team and their first love scene was hot and sweet and funny too. Tony finds out his smooth moves make the ticklish Heather laugh. So she reciprocates, but then things hot up and they both have a wonderful time. This is the best love scene Iíve read this year.

I canít recommend Tall Tales and Wedding Veils highly enough. Iíve been looking for a book like this one Ė funny, and touching with wonderful characters and great love scenes. This is the best feel good book Iíve read in a long time and I know I will read again, and again.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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