Female Intelligence) playfully follows the misadventures of Elizabeth Baskin,"/>

THE SECRET INGREDIENT

Jane Heller, Author, Rachael F. Heller, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-26172-6

Frothy as a double latte with extra foam, Heller's latest romantic satire (after Female Intelligence) playfully follows the misadventures of Elizabeth Baskin, a dissatisfied wife searching for a magic potion to revitalize her husband, Roger, only to discover that quick fixes can be disastrous. She's a finicky hotel field inspector spy for AMLP, America's Most Luxurious Properties, who's almost ready to downgrade her own marriage as uninhabitable. Roger, an overworked real estate lawyer, has developed a paunch, a bald spot and a penchant for going to bed at 11 instead of making love till dawn. He drools and drops crumbs everywhere when he eats, and she yearns for the old romance of their first meeting when he rescued her from a breakdown on the "dreaded 405," a Southern California freeway. Brenda, who's Elizabeth's well-meaning sister and a celebrity-obsessed journalist, suggests Dr. Gordon Farkus, a Beverly Hills "specialist in life enhancement." Elizabeth buys into the trendy hocus-pocus and purchases a "stud stimulant" to drop into her hubby's fresh-squeezed orange juice, but in her eagerness to rev up Rog, she overdoses him and suddenly her sweet but dull husband becomes a sexy but terribly self-absorbed hunk no woman can resist. Mortified by the havoc she's wrought, Elizabeth decides to ask for the antidote, only to discover the notorious "life enhancer" has split town. Featuring fun-filled shenanigans played out against L.A. area and resort backdrops, not to mention some rugged adventures on nearby Mt. Baldy, the novel zips along like the latest issue of People and packs the punch of a big bite of pink cotton candy—good for a sticky smile on a lazy afternoon. Agent, Ellen Levine. Author tour. (Feb. 11)

Reviewed on: 12/10/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
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