||Write Words, Inc
||May 29, 2009
A bundle of contradictions, Madeleine Andrews doesn't play well with others, yet is a devoted volunteer. Luke McFarland is a successful people-pleaser, burying his own desires beneath an ever-present smile. Theirs could be the love affair of the century, but first they have to learn to like each other. She thinks he's insincere and a phony. He thinks she's arrogant and difficult. And that’s just the start of their problems.
The daughter of an unscrupulous businessman father and hypochondriac mother, reporter MADELEINE ANDREWS values her independence above all else. She volunteers for nonprofit organizations in an effort to atone for her father’s misdeeds, and considers all physical weakness an effort to manipulate others.
Her editor assigns two stories to her, the first on the mayor’s involvement with a development group, and the second on a group of anorexic girls at local high school. Her favorite organization also gives her the job of designing a public relations campaign with LUKE McFARLAND. Upon meeting Luke, she immediately pegs him as a phony. He’s also the sexiest man she’s ever met. They quickly butt heads over what the campaign should include.
Luke didn’t want another pro bono account dumped on him, and he especially wants out of this one after meeting Madeleine. She’s arrogant and he knows she’ll be difficult to work with. But part of him enjoys the challenge of sparring with the gorgeous reporter. He decides to guard his secret—he suffers from multiple food allergies.
Madeleine finds herself intrigued by the anorexic girls and plans a series of articles on eating disorders. Although she feels compassion for their suffering, she remains convinced that anorexia is just another form of manipulation. When the editor pulls her off the development story, she considers leaving the newspaper and becoming a freelance writer.
Luke is offered the position of junior partner in his firm, contingent on helping a crooked senator win re-election. He’s worked hard to get to where he is, and wants the partnership, but helping the senator goes against the grain. His teenage niece collapses at school and ends up in ER with a minor heart attack as a result of anorexia. He promises her parents that he’ll pay her medical expenses, knowing that doing so locks him into helping the senator.
Although each denies the attraction they feel for the other, Luke and Madeleine continue to meet and confide their career dilemmas. She tells him about her parents, but he keeps his secret after learning of her disdain for physical maladies.
Madeleine falls, severely spraining her ankle as well as suffering multiple abrasions. She denies needing help and waits until almost too late before asking Luke for assistance. He takes her to a hospital, where she has a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic. She learns she’s pre-diabetic, and needs to follow certain diet restrictions. This creates a turning point in her belief system. She ultimately decides she’d like to integrate nutritional counseling in the women’s support group she volunteers for, with the ultimate goal of establishing a low cost clinic.
Luke’s niece greatly admires her uncle and wants to be like him, creating a turning point for him. He knows he has to be honest about his work, and with Madeleine. He tells his bosses he can’t accept the partnership, but proposes an alternative that won’t bring in big fees, but will create good will as well as being responsible to the community.
Another reporter discovers unlawful dealings between Madeleine’s father, the mayor, and the senator. Because of her meetings with Luke, the editor accuses Madeleine of being a go-between and she is fired. In an effort to protect Luke from the fallout, she tells him she can’t see him again.
Luke’s firm turns down his proposal and he resigns. He’s also tainted by the senator’s actions. He knows that Madeleine is as innocent of wrongdoing as he is, and tries unsuccessfully to revive their relationship. He realizes his dream is to establish a clinic to help people with eating disorders. He decides to go to work for another PR firm, until he can arrange funding for the clinic.
Madeleine’s heartbroken mother informs her that her father has started divorce proceedings. Madeleine talks about her fear of committing to Luke, and her mother reassures her that most men aren’t like her father and advises her to “go for it.”
She takes that advice and calls Luke. They return to where they first met, and have a romantic reconciliation which ends in an agreement to wed.
Luke wanted more than Madeleine’s perfect body. The corridors of her mind enchanted him. He could spend a lifetime traveling them, going through each door, discovering new aspects of her with each one. He knew her prickly personality hid as much from the world as his always-smiling veneer hid.
Was he courageous enough to let her see the secrets of his mind, even as he dipped into hers? Would she enjoy the challenge of discovering what lay behind his facade? Would he be able to finally give as well as get?
Uplifting, Pleasure to Read
Cassandra Barnes has done it again!
A PERFECT BODY is a great read, filled with characters who come alive as the pages turn and with issues that affect many of us today. This author shows insight into a major problem in our society, especially with teens, but she weaves the love interest in so that it becomes an uplifting story that is a pleasure to read.
-- Pinkie Paranya, Award-winning novelist.
A Lovely Romance
Luke and Madeleine are two young people who have decided to follow the conventional wisdom of working towards financial stability, and experiencing life before giving in to their nesting instinct.
Luke is busy working for a junior partnership in a public relations firm, while Madeleine is starting out to establish herself as a journalist when love knocks them off their feet. In this atmosphere of trying to resist an inconvenient romance, they have to deal with the serious question of anorexia and bulimia that touches both their lives.
This is the third of Ms Barnes romance novels that I have read, and she continues to entertain and educate me. I look forward to her next book. ~~ Sanchona, author of A Family of Strangers
Rated 4 Cups
Luke McFarland is considered the best man in the firm. He lives a luxurious lifestyle and lives the motto ‘love them and leave them’ with women. Then Madeleine enters his life.
Madeleine Andrews has a publicity project dumped in her lap with a PR firm and a man she has never met. The biggest question on her mind, why was she chosen for this?
Madeleine has her hands full not only with the publicity project, but covering the Mayor’s conference and doing a story on teenagers trying to stay too thin. The worst thing is working with handsome Luke. As a low-ranking reporter, she would rather be an investigative reporter. She hopes her articles on teenagers and the Ana cult, short for anorexia, give her the recognition she wishes. Luke learns Madeleine has good credentials and is sharp. Once this project is over, he will have to forget all about Madeleine. He has no time for any relationship in his life, yet she intrigues him. As the two work on their consuming projects, can they have a future together?
A Perfect Body is a good read. I like how it expresses the dangers of anorexia. Cassandra Barnes explores the dangers and bad influences by which anorexia can destroy the body. She relays a good story of how teenagers will do anything to follow the modern craze of looking good and fit. I like how she digs deep into the heart and soul of Madeleine and brings out her inner self, too. She and Luke so deserve to find that one love to last a lifetime. All the players are crafted in such a life-like form that this reader felt as if she was right in the middle of a real event going on in this delightful read.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
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