On the Couch

On the Couch

3.6 8
by Alisa Kwitney
     
 

After going for more than a year without a date — a record in New York City — Marlowe Riddle has finally met a broodingly sexy, sharply intelligent man who is clearly interested in making more than polite conversation. The only problem: Joseph Kain is an NYPD detective clearly under the mistaken impression that Marlowe is a call girl.

But while

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Overview

After going for more than a year without a date — a record in New York City — Marlowe Riddle has finally met a broodingly sexy, sharply intelligent man who is clearly interested in making more than polite conversation. The only problem: Joseph Kain is an NYPD detective clearly under the mistaken impression that Marlowe is a call girl.

But while Marlowe does take money for spending time with strangers in her expensive Upper West Side apartment, she's a psychologist — not Manhattan's answer to the Mayflower Madam! A fact she has no intention of telling Joe ... at least not until she finishes her research project on the "Behavioral Effects of Disguising Identity."

But Marlowe's not the only one trying to secretively gain information ... and it's becoming increasingly unclear who is seducing whom. Because sometimes the only way to learn what a man really wants ... is to get him on the couch.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Rich-kid psychotherapist and tough New York cop flirt it up, each playing a role for the unwitting other. Less concerned with embarrassing pratfalls for her neurotic heroines than many of her chick-lit sisters, Kwitney (Till the Fat Lady Sings, 1992, etc.) still wants them to find love, and not a little bit of sex. The single girl here is Marlowe, a Manhattan psychologist with divorced parents providing her with distant affection and a trust fund. Joe is the NYPD detective with more crime smarts than tact. He calls Marlowe by accident during his investigation of a murder (first of several) in which the victim was snuffed out apparently after calling an escort service; thinking that Marlowe is actually an escort, he tries to get information out of her. Bored with her life and thinking she'll sex up Joe's as-yet-unpublished dissertation on role-playing by providing him with some good firsthand experience, Marlowe plays along, quickly warming up to the role of the hooker who's about to retire but wouldn't mind one last assignment. Fortunately, one of her therapy clients is exactly that kind of escort, providing her with plenty of real know-how. Joe comes off as a pretty typical Manhattan male, attractive enough to get most any woman he wants. He knows how to get Marlowe into bed and keep her happily there, but he has a sharp temper and an emotional core buried deeper than even a psychologist would want to dig. The relationship is fitful, playful and exciting, then cold and hostile, swinging wildly about as each tries to figure out what game the other is playing, all the while trying to find the killer to boot. Kwitney deserves credit for not throwing out illogical roadblocks, and there's arefreshing absence of stock best-friend characters. Still, the crime subplot is hardly thrilling: sexy romance with a few welcome twists. Agent: Meg Ruley/Jane Rotrosen Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060530792
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/15/2004
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

Read an Excerpt

On the Couch


By Kwitney, Alisa

Avon Books

ISBN: 0060530790

Chapter One

Marlowe

I woke up and discovered that the phone was ringing. I had the groggy impression that it had been ringing for some time, and that the call was probably urgent.

"Hello," I said. It came out in a throaty whisper.

"God, you sound sexy. Can I come over right now and see you?"

I rolled over to check the clock on my bedside table, accidentally kicking my cat in the head. It was one-thirty in the morning, I was barely conscious, and at some point during the night I'd managed to put my foot through my black lace nightgown, ripping it down the middle.

Of course I was going to see him.

"I'm not sure," I said slowly. "Did you have an appointment?" There was a pause on the other end. "I thought I did. I mean, I think I do. Do I?"

I turned on the light and my cat glared at me before jumping off the bed. "I believe you had an appointment at just after one."

"There was a problem and I just got off work this minute."

I pulled my torn nightgown over my head. "Hmm. I don't know about this. You're not a cop, are you?"

"Do I sound like a cop?"

"You can't always go by how people sound. Talking without having to look at someone is the easiest way to lie." Rummaging through my lingerie drawer, I tossed aside twelve pairs of cotton bikini underpants and four beige brassieres before unearthing a black and pink thong and push-up bra set that looked appropriately whorish.

"So let me talk to you face-to-face."

I cradled the phone between my shoulder and chin as I hooked the bra's clasp between my breasts. "Are you willing to pay the price?"

"Abso-fucking-lutely."

"But you don't even know what that is yet."

"For you, I'll sign a blank check." I stepped into the thong panties and checked myself out in the full-length mirror on my bathroom door. Should I clean up my sleep-smeared eye makeup? Nah. So what if I looked like I was taking a brief pause between sessions of inspired debauchery?

At least I didn't look like a psychologist in private practice who was about to have sex for the first time in over a year.

As for what could motivate an attractive, financially secure woman with a Ph.D. in clinical psych to let a man think that she was a call girl, well, I could say it was just being a single thirtysomething woman in Manhattan.

Or else I could cite the fact that I'd been told that if I wanted to publish my dissertation, I needed to spice it up with some intimate personal revelations.

The truth, of course, was messier, more complicated, and a lot less rational. Most people think that therapists are immune to the kinds of problems they treat, but the truth is, we're all motivated by the pursuit of pleasure. Not to mention occasionally blinded by it.

If Joe were a client, I'd probably diagnose him as a high-achieving, mildly obsessive type Apersonality with excellent coping skills and some deep, underlying insecurity. I'd also have a much better handle on what's really motivating him, because he's not the kind of guy who needs to hire a date by the hour. In fact, it's not always clear to me who's seducing whom.

"Marlowe? You still there, or did you fall asleep on me?"

"All right," I said. "You can come over. But make it snappy."

"I'm on my way."

"Oh, and Joe?"

"Yeah?"

"Bring your handcuffs."

Continues...

Excerpted from On the Couch by Kwitney, Alisa Excerpted by permission.
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