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In Minnesota, though she would prefer to just give money, graphic designer Dena Bailey reluctantly agrees to donate something to an auction to raise funds for children. Her brother persuades Dena to visit her upstairs neighbor and ask local NHL hero Quinn Sterling for an autographed hockey stick. When Dena and Quinn meet in the apartment building, he realizes she is the woman he found in the men's room at his best friend's wedding. Both are attracted to one another and Quinn gets Dena to start seeing him, not an easy task as the woman hides in her work to avoid relationships ever since her mom deserted her as a child. When Quinn becomes guardian to two preadolescent siblings whose parents just died, Dena cannot cope, fearing she will be a chip off the old block. Quinn's goal is to persuade the woman he loves that they and the two children belong together as a family. Though he knows this will prove harder than a defenseman scoring the hat trick, he also realizes the prize is greater than Lord Stanley's Cup. THE MAN UPSTAIRS is an enjoyable sports romance that shows the positive side of a person who happens to be a headline making defenseman. Quinn saves the novel as he is a fabulous hunk on and off the ice even when Dena checks his heart. However, Dena starts off as a delight with demons, but readers will tire of her psychological baggage though she ironically will remain a sympathetic character. Category readers will feel Pamela Bauer scored the winning overtime goal with this pleasing tale. Harriet Klausner
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Bitter disillusionment in the past has caused Dena Bailey to seek solace in her work to the extent of making it her first priority. She works long hours and goes beyond the call of duty to earn the elusive brass ring, and nothing has ever distracted her; that, is until she meets the man upstairs, Quinn Sterling. While marriage and children have never been entirely ruled out of her plans, her interest in Quinn has entirely disrupted her vision of the future. Tired of dating women who are drawn to his fame as a professional hockey player, Quinn finds Dena's disinterest in the sport refreshing. For the first time, he experiences what it means to be appreciated for one's own merits. Their agreement to engage in a lighthearted affair, however, meets profound challenges as Quinn finds himself falling hard. Further, a car accident leaves him with the care of two children. Author Paula Bauer captures a story that easily could be real with rich prose and gentle understanding in THE MAN UPSTAIRS. Indeed, Bauer creates a marvelously complex heroine. She has become overly preoccupied with work, clearing illustrating her profound need for stability and rewards for her efforts. Consequently, Dena is ill equipped for falling in love, with our without children involved. She longs for deep friendships and connections to other people, yet she does not know how to establish and maintain them. Nevertheless, Quinn refuses to let her put him off, but his own challenges escalate with the arrival of children. The result is a marvelous character driven romance that readers will find entrancing. THE MAN UPSTAIRS comes highly recommended.
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