Vicki Lewis Thompson makes her single-title debut with NERD IN SHINING ARMOR, the story of Gen, a former hillbilly marooned for two days on a Pacific isle with Jack, the nerd who has a crush on her.

Gen and Jack are both determined and likeable characters. Gen's hidden hillbilly heritage adds an interesting twist to a standard spunky heroine, and Jack certainly scruffs up nicely, once on the island. The scenes of them alone on the island are cute and endearing but also a bit silly—as they're desperately swimming to the life-saving island, Gen suddenly takes the time to admire Jack's eye color.

Thompson's category romance background shows in the simplicity and directness of the plot. The characters' thoughts, reactions and emotions are explicitly described. The heart of this story is the endearing development of a relationship between Gen and Jack. If you enjoy one-on-one hero-heroine interactions more than any other part of a novel, NERD IN SHINING ARMOR will likely rescue you from reading doldrums. (May, 324 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kay Mayo