Category Romance Review: Ready, Willing and Abel by Nancy Martin


The Book

Ready, Willing and Abel was my first foray into the Silhouette Desire line. Nancy Martin penned a ridiculous, sexy romp that made me fall in love with the series. Featuring an Indiana Jones-like hero and a button-downed heroine working in fast-paced Washington DC, this story was not based at all in reality. It was so over-the-top and silly; I adored it.

The Hero

Abel Fletcher has just come back from a recent archaeological expedition. He carries with him a sacred totem that supposedly is imbued with magical powers. Namely the power to make a person fall madly in love after touching it and gazing upon a special someone. The charm is supposed to work both ways, but Abel believes it’s all nonsense. That is until he falls madly in love at first sight with Samantha Wyatt.

He first sees Samantha at a softball game, swinging away at a pitch, her skirts and hair swirling around her. Abel stares dumbfounded at her as she runs the bases. The love-struck fool stands there as she slams into him, and they roll onto the ground, creating the scene that’s on the cover.

Abel is confounded. Who is this beautiful creature? Why is he so head-over-heels gaga for her? And why doesn’t she reciprocate the feelings?

The Heroine

Samantha Wyatt is a respectable, no-nonsense type. She has a dream job working in politics, and her life is fine, if a little dull. She’s not the wild, adventurous type. In fact, even playing that softball game was completely out of character for her, as some friends had cajoled her into the at-bat. Then she literally runs into this crazy, disheveled, although admittedly handsome man who claims they’re destined to be together.

Abel is determined to convince Samantha he’s the man for her. But what could these two disparate people possibly have in common?

Hmm… What could it be?

Oh, that’s right! This is a red-covered Desire romance. That means some sexy times are ahead!

Despite her misgivings, Samantha can’t help but be charmed by the besotted treasure-hunter. He’s so honest and direct, unlike anyone she’s ever met. As Abel gets to know Samantha, he realizes his love-at-first-sight isn’t skin deep. There’s a warm, passionate, giving woman beneath the icy veneer. Abel is set on proving to her that their love is the real deal!

The Love Story

The characters are older in Ready, Willing and Abel than in the usual romances I had come upon. That is, both the hero AND the heroine were. Abel is in his early 40s, and Samantha is well into her 30s. So it makes sense that Samantha is mature and level-headed. On the other hand, Abel is a kid at heart who is supposed to be like Harrison Ford with charisma.

I know, you’re probably thinking: “What? Harrison Ford was Han Solo and Indiana Jones and the US President kicking ass on Air Force One.” Yes, the roles he’s played are intriguing, but I’m talking about the man. Have you ever seen him do an interview? Total snoozeville.

Anyway, Samanta and Abel make a romantic pairing that is a delight to read about.

Abel decides to return the stone to show Sam what he feels isn’t magic; he truly loves her. So he does just that, going back to the jungles where he found the totem. The natives are straight from an episode of “Gilligan’s Island,” so unclench your butts and take it all in with a sense of humor because this book is played for laughs, not enlightenment.

Final Analysis of Ready, Willing and Abel

Upon finishing Nancy Martin’s Ready, Willing and Abel I tore out the postcard mailer in the middle of the book and filled it out, anxious to read more Desire romances. I found a wonderful variety in that series, some books funny, like this one, some deep and tragic, and most of them were enjoyable, erotic entertainment.

Like all things, the category line has changed over the years. Now it’s basically an imitation of Harlequin Presents but with American billionaires instead of foreign ones.

Eh, keep your jet-setting billionaires. I’ll take the wacky, madly in-love adventure-seekers any day.

4.25 Stars



Professor Abel Fletcher didn’t believe in love at first sight. It had to be the sacred love stone he’d recently acquired that was making him act like such a dope. What else could explain his sudden attraction to coolly aloof Samantha Wyatt? And anyway the charm was supposed to turn her into his sex slave. Why wasn’t she tearing off her clothes and falling at his feet?

Samantha knew she should stay far away from dangerously distracting Abel. She kept trying to convince the footloose adventurer that she wasn’t interested in a relationship–especially with a man who traveled halfway around the world in search of lost treasures. But she knew if she wasn’t careful, Abel would realize she was ready and willing!


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