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REVIEW: Wanted Man by Ellen Hartman

Rhian’s Rooftop Resolutions:
1. Write a children’s book
2. Learn to play basketball
3. Have a summer fling

Between caring for her orphaned nephew and working as a tech writer, Rhian MacGregor has spent several years perfecting the art of abstinence. But the arrival of Nathan Delaney—her gorgeous housepainter—has her contemplating a new instruction manual: Seducing Your Handyman.

She’s not thinking of getting serious, of course. She’s only got the summer to herself before it’s back to real life. Besides, Rhian doesn’t do serious, because the consequences are too painful.
Just as they will be when she finds out who Nathan really is…

Wanted Man by Ellen HartmanDear Mrs. Hartman,

I guess this is a reissue since the eharlequin website lists it with a publication date of 2007 and an onsale date of September 2011 but whatever it is, I’m glad I’m finally reading it. Oh, and I love that the cover shows the pepto bismol pink painted house that Nathan paints to get into Rhian’s life. Cover images that match what actually happens in the book – yeah!

Okay the set up for the book requires a little suspension of belief about Nathan. I know some famous authors are fairly reclusive but the lengths to which he’s gone just don’t seem like even they’d be enough. Not with today’s easy access via the Internet to everything about everybody. But I’ll just go with it and keep reading. The celebrity, tabloid “journalist” daytime show host’s decision to discover who author Chris Senso really is seems all too real though. Anything for increased ratings no matter who it might hurt or whose life it might change. That being said, the way you’ve fashioned the character of Lindsey Hall makes her sound exactly like the uber exuberant, “will stop at nothing to get the story,” “perfect hair and makeup” type of modern TV personality. Can I say I fairly much despise them? Yes, I can. And Nathan’s ex Patricia – wow, what was he thinking to get hooked up with her? The scene at the end where those two are pitted against each other is worth it though as the perfect revenge.

Nathan Delaney does have some concrete reasons why he wants privacy – both as Nathan and as his nom de plume “Chris.” Because of his bad experience as a college basketball player, I can see why he isn’t eager to be in the spotlight anymore. And why he’s initially skittish when first introduced to Rhian’s friends and her nephew Jem’s family. I like the slow, sweet build up to a physical relationship that they have but I could see the Big Mis situation coming. When one character tells another “I have something to tell you” and that telling gets interrupted for sex, the hand grenade explosion isn’t far off. Nathan loses a few points with me for his reaction to what happens and I’m not entirely sure his initial “I’m sorry, I should have believed you” is enough for me. The man had lots of chances before that night to tell the truth.

Rhian starts the book as if she’s going to turn into one of those martyrs who gives up her entire life for the service of others. I do like the relationship she has with Jem but I’m glad she is going to have most of the summer to herself and that she already plans on having some adult fun when she’s got the chance. And that she goes ahead with her dream and actually finishes it! The HFN ending to that – her being an author – is a nice change from the usual “she becomes a huge worldwide star with her first book!” epilogues I’ve read in the past.

Matt and Min – kind of sound like they’re a pair of cartoon mice, don’t they – are fun secondary characters and really help with the way Nathan resolves the whole issue of his privacy. Jem comes across like an eight year old, basketball mad little boy who hasn’t quite gotten to the independent “don’t hug me in public” stage yet. He’s in the story just enough to not annoy me.

I might not always end up reviewing all your books but I do always look at them and here I’m glad that I’ve got a chance at reading this one that’s been out for a while. Ebooks are wonderful and reissued backlists are even better. B-


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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. SHZ
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 18:31:06

    Thanks for the review! The Super covers are often cheesy, but they almost always match what actually happens in the book. I like that.

    I’m going through a Super phase at the moment.
    This one looks pretty good.

  2. Sunita
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 18:55:02

    I read this a while ago (I picked it up from the UK M&B site). My favorite Hartman is still His Secret Past, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. I think it was her first published novel, at least with Harlequin. It does fall apart in the last quarter, but well worth reading.

  3. Jayne
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 18:56:54

    @SHZ: The covers can be cheesy but I think that it’s balanced by the fact that the titles are often better than some of the other lines.

  4. Jayne
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 18:59:16

    @Sunita: His Secret Past is fantastic. My first Hartman book and still – at an A- grade – the one I’ve enjoyed the best. Totally agree with you there.

  5. SHZ
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 19:49:59

    @Jayne: That is true! The titles are almost never bad in this line (except for poor – and fantastic – Kay Stockham. One of her best books is called “Simon Says Mommy”!!).

    The Super line looks like its getting a revamp though. Sarah Mayberry’s upcoming book, for example, has a really classy cover – even with a pregnant woman on it (they’re usually the cheesiest kind)!

  6. sarah mayberry
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 22:35:43

    We *have* got new covers! Beautiful, clean, modern new covers, courtesy of the Harlequin art department. Jeannie Watt did a great post on the evolution of Super Romance covers last week over at if anyone is interested in seeing how times have changed. I haven’t read this book of Ellen’s, but I have read His Secret Past and LOVED it.

  7. cyclops8
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 04:42:54

    I really enjoyed “His Secret Past,” too.

  8. Jane
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 06:54:13

    @sarah mayberry I think the 2006 cover is the best of the lot. There is still something dated about the “new” covers for me. I think it is the yellow.

  9. sarah mayberry
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 07:17:06

    @Jane: Ha! When Jeannie did this exercise in a more expansive form for our authors loop, we all agreed that Learning Curves was one of our faves. It’s very sexy, tells you about the setting, gives you a dynamic to imagine… It’s great. Re: the yellow… I’m not sure what color I’d prefer, to be honest. We’re trying to select exterior paint colors for our house at the moment, and I find once I start looking at colors I can find reasons to love and hate all of them. I do not envy the art department one iota!

  10. Sunita
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 09:59:21

    I like the 2006 covers too. But I mainly wanted to chime in to add that I really liked Maddie Inherits A Cowboy, despite the somewhat unbelievable depiction of Maddie’s academic situation. The romance was terrific and the Nevada setting felt really authentic.

  11. SHZ
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 05:17:22

    Okay, I am totally horrified by my poor apostrophe use in my last post!

    The yellow probably won’t go away because it seems to indicate the category subgenre. But they are better than the creepy covers from the last few years (poor Karina Bliss and the God-awful cover of Stand-in-Wife comes to mind!).

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