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Starred Review. Andersen (Hot & Bothered, etc.) deserves to go to the head of the class for this emotionally charged romance, which delves beyond the seductive surface of topless Vegas showgirls to recognize their athleticism and heart. Treena McCall's dream is to open a dance studio, but the 11 months she took off from dancing in la Stravaganza to care for her sick new husband, Big Jim, left her a widow, deprived of her savings and out of step from the rest of the troupe—a tough situation for a 35-year-old dancer. She possesses a World Series baseball that could secure her future, but Big Jim wanted her to give it to his estranged grown son, Jackson. A math whiz known as Jax on the pro poker circuit, Jackson needs the baseball to clear a debt with a nail-gun wielding Russian. Jax doesn't know that Treena would hand it over if asked, so he approaches her incognito and attempts to seduce it out of her. Too late, he realizes that his heart is at stake and that no one will win when he shows his hand. Andersen again injects magic into a story that would be clichéd in another's hands, delivering warm, vulnerable characters in a touching yet suspenseful read.
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Professional gambler Jax Gallagher is sure that Las Vegas showgirl Treena McCall married his father for his money. Now he is going to have to get to know his young, widowed stepmother so he can retrieve a priceless baseball he recklessly bet in a high-stakes game with an Elvis-impersonating mobster. Treena McCall went through her husband's fortune to get him the best medical help when he was dying of cancer, only holding on to the baseball he said he wanted his son to have. Now she has no idea that Jax is that son. Soon, she is falling for Jax, and in spite of himself, he is falling for her. Sex, lies, a bad guy in white polyester, and a prized baseball add up nicely, while a delightful secondary romance featuring a buttoned-up, retired librarian who becomes a hot mama adds humor. Written with Andersen's signature sass and sizzle, this book will appeal to fans of Sandra Hill and Rachel Gibson. Shelley Mosley
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