by Lucy Grijalva
Hearted Publishing Inc 2000
Highly Recommended 5 stars
Julia Newman is nonplussed to
find herself fascinated by the ruffian who moves into the apartment
next door. Rick "Perry," appears to be totally ignominious.
He pronounces himself a handyman, but Julia notices he keeps
the oddest hours. His unkempt hair, puzzling way of not answering
personal questions and a group of as disreputable friends all
signal trouble as far as Julia can tell. Rick would be easy
to ignore if he weren't so pleasant, appealing, fun, and so downright
Rick is not the type of man
Julia ever wanted to meet. Third-grade schoolteacher Julia
is a woman who was mothered by an indiscreet single parent in
a city slum. Now that Julia has shaken off the stigma of her
upbringing and has put one notable youthful blunder behind her,
she wants no part of that former life. Julia's new life built
on respectability. She is a law-abiding and right-living young
woman who is aware that her own lack of judgment when it comes
to men must be kept in check does not want to follow in her mother's
footsteps. This is a woman who grew up watching her mother get
bewitched and then disposed of by a succession of losers. Julia
while a teenager, came too close to following her mother's pattern.
That was then, and Julia has determined never again. She knows
that if she ever chooses to get wrapped up in another fellow,
he will without doubt be a decent man who will have a legitimate
source of income and a rock solid sense of honor.
Rick Peralta has problems of
his own to be troubled about. What Julia doesn't know about
her new neighbor is that he's a vice cop working undercover.
Rick's excuse to hang around the big time drug dealer's apartments
using his "handyman" routine so he dig up some evidence
on the guy and get him arrested is simple. His plan is to put
the drug dealer at ease so he can arrange a very large drug buy
that will result in a very long prison sentence for the ruffian.
Of course Rick must look and act the part of a ruffian himself.
It's a not a bad plan as plans go, and everything would be
working nice and smooth if Rick weren't so taken by his attractive
neighbor. Rick hasn't had much success at a long-term relationship
in the past, and even though he can't disclose much about himself
for fear of blowing his cover, he just can't help being drawn
to the luscious, entertaining, sexy Julia
Undercover Love is a nice, well
rounded little romance that is sure to hold the reader's interest
from the opening lines right on through to the last chapter.
Writer Grijalva has sprinkled a group of fully-developed,
likeable characters who are quite advanced. In Undercover Love
first-time author Grijalva maintains the focus shift on her characters'
developing relationship. That relationship is exactly what readers
who enjoy romance novels most want to read about. Undercover
Love pr0vides just enough subplot about Rick's undercover work
and Julia's preoccupation with one of her students, however it's
just enough to add a little spice to the narrative, and in no
way takes from the romance itself.
As in Diana Garcia's Stardust,
the growing romance between Rick and Julia in Undercover Love
is pleasant to watch unfolding. Their relationship evolves
progressively and naturally. Grijalva does a credible job in
allowing the reader to feel the sexual tension that drawing the
pair together, despite their understandable disinclination for
such. The emotional interchange between the duo adds to the
story, as Julia slowly learns to depend upon Rick and trust her
own judgment as she reveals the damage of her torturous childhood.
At last uncertainty is conquered,
problems are resolved, and the love neither was seeking is theirs.