Amanda Dillon is a hypnotist known as the "Man Tamer of Manhattan." Every night she puts on a show in which she has attractive men literally falling at her feet while in a trance, but she can't seem to find one who will do that without being hypnotized. Amanda has been receiving flowers and phone calls from a reporter who wants to do a story on her, but because her father was ruined by a reporter, she typically avoids the media.
Derek Armstrong thinks Amanda is a fraud, and he's determined to prove it. When she won't answer his calls, he sneaks into one of her shows and is more than happy to volunteer to be her next "victim." Derek manages to avoid Amanda's hypnotic trance, but pretends that she succeeded to the point that he can't be woken up. When Amanda takes him home to find a way to un-hypnotize him, Derek's plan to get close to her for the sake of his story seems to be paying off. He just didn't expect to fall in love with her once he got to know her better.
Mesmerized was my least favorite of the three novellas in the Bad Boys Over Easy anthology. This was mainly because I had a hard time buying into the premise and the idea of the hero and heroine falling in love so quickly. However, I also have to admit that I wasn't overly enamored with the main characters themselves. Amanda was a very experienced hypnotist who had put people in trances for her show many times before, so it just seemed odd to me that she wouldn't start to suspect something when she wasn't able to "wake" Derek after several days. Even her assistant suspected he was faking right after the show. I also wasn't thrilled with her making love to Derek when she thought he was still in a trance. Of course, he wasn't, but she didn't know that which from her perspective should have made it a non-consensual act. She at least had the decency to feel badly about it, but I would have preferred that she simply take the high road and not do it at all until she knew he was fully conscious. Derek wasn't much better, because he had attended Amanda's show and agreed to be put in a trance under false pretenses. Then he pretended that he wasn't coming out of the trance just to get her to take him home, so he could get the scoop on her for his magazine story. In the end, he realizes that Amanda means more to him than the story, but his deceptions had already put a bad taste in my mouth.
As a couple, I just didn't feel the love connection between Amanda and Derek. They both had the hots for one another right from the minute they see each other, and they shared a couple of pretty steamy love scenes, but without those loving emotions, it was little more than a casual fling to me. They seemed to fall in love just because they had great sex which is something I simply couldn't buy. It was also hard to believe that Amanda would forgive Derek so easily after finding out that he was only pretending to get his story, especially after her father's life had been ruined by a reporter. Mesmerized wasn't a terrible story, but it was just OK. This was my first read by Jordan Summers, and I can say that the actual writing is fairly strong and quite readable. I just felt like there were some big holes in the plotting and characterizations. If those weaknesses had been shored up or the narrative had been a little longer to flesh out those details, I thought it could have been a very good novella.
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