Now, this isn't to say that Jack Stillman, hero of Stephanie Bond's "It Takes A Rebel" isn't an appealing character. He is. As Ms. Bond puts it, Jack is 'clodhopping his way through life' reveling in past athletic glories and having business opportunities handed to him on a silver platter because of those athletic feats. Until --- he comes up against Alexandra Tremont.
Part of the Tremont department store 'empire', Alex strives for her father's love and attention, while Mr. Tremont prefers to lavish attention on Alex's fiancé, Heath, and Jack Stillman, whose advertising firm (which is owned by Jack's brother, Derek, with Jack dropping in once in a while) is in the running for a lucrative new account for Tremont's store. Jack doesn't exactly get off to a stellar start with Alex on her first visit to the agency's office. He decides to fall back on his well-documented charm, with Alex fighting him all the way. Lots of fireworks and heated encounters ensue, with an especially steamy scene at the store as Jack models a thong, as Jack does his level best to convince Alex and her father to go with the Stillman agency for the account. Al Tremont wants immediate blanket approval but agrees to consider Alex's opinion after giving Jack a two-week trial run. Oh, and in addition, Al wants Jack (or 'Jack the Attack', as he was know in his college football days) to be the spokesmodel for the store.
I have to say that Jack's attitude toward Alex at times left me wishing she'd been a bit more outspoken against some of the things he did and said. And for Alex, I didn't agree with her repeated "make love to me, Jack/oh now I feel like slime for what I did to Heath" attitude. In my opinion, the first time should have been categorically the last time or she should have come clean with Heath immediately and returned the engagement ring. I didn't like the 'feel' of her having sex with Jack while wearing the ring of another man. Twice.
In the end, all in resolved: Al Tremont admits that he loves his daughter deeply (just didn't show it enough) and makes her President of the company, Stillman Agency gets the account, Heath resigns and takes a great job in Cincinnati and of course, Jack gets Alex.
I'm a big fan of Ms. Bond and though I had trouble with a few elements in "It Takes a Rebel", it definitely won't prevent me from picking up her next releases. Look for Ms. Bond's single title from St. Martin's - "Our Husband" - coming in November 2000. I had the privilege of receiving an advance reading copy of this book, and anyone who passes it by will be missing out on one of the truly great books of this year. Pre-order this book as soon as possible.