by Kathryn Quick, contemporary (2013)
Montlake Romance, $12.95, ISBN 978-1612186863
Before you ask, no, I have no idea whether Kathryn Quick is related in any way to Amanda Quick. But there's a snappy fun banter system between the hero and the heroine in Ineligible Bachelor that may endear this book to fans of Jayne Ann Krentz.
Just bear with the plot. It is, I must admit, pretty cringe-inducing. Frederika "Rikka, not Freddy" McAllister has a crush on Logan Gabriel since they were teens, but since that day when she took him down and trounced him during a regional football championship game, she has fallen into the friend zone where he is concerned and she has no idea how to get out of there. Now that Logan has settled down and showing signs of being ready to settle down with the right woman, she is more determined than ever to be that right woman.
So she does what every sane woman would do: enter him into some magazine's Most Eligible Bachelor of the Year contest. She reasons that when he loses, it would bruise his ego a bit and she'd be there to cheer him up. I'd think Logan would be more bewildered than upset when he realizes that he has lost a contest that he never entered, but that point is moot as Logan wins.
Even better, Rikka apparently entered Logan into the contest without reading the whole contest thing carefully, because she has no clue that Logan's win will mean that he's now the star of a new reality show, Eligible Bachelor, where he'd cavort with a few ladies until he decides to pick one to be his true love or something. The twist here is that Rikka will come along to eliminate the ladies on his behalf. Will she ever find time to tell Logan that she wants him bad?
The premise is not very promising, as it's pretty stupid, for one, and it makes Rikka look stupid. Also, it seems like a premise ripe for opportunities to put down other women as skanks or what not just to make the heroine look good. Fortunately, there is minimal putting down of other women here. Logan's feelings for Rika are all about her, not because she's a novelty or she's "different" from other women.
Logan is a likable hero. He's not a very deep character - no angst, no "You lied to me so I hate you forever!" nonsense; he's exactly what it says on the box: a happy-go-lucky guy who is just a bit clueless when it comes to women. Rikka is harder to like, mostly because she's such a mastermind to put things in motion, and she's also plagued with all kinds of insecurities that cause her to overreact and jump to very wrong conclusions at the slightest provocation. But when she's not acting like a headless chicken for plot purposes, she and Logan have pleasant chemistry and I just love the way they trader one-liners with one another. The author has a nice bouncy way with humor that really shows in this story.
Another good thing about this book is how, for once, the reality TV aspects are done mostly right. There are some "What a minute..." moments, of course, but nothing that pulls me out completely from this story.
All in all, Ineligible Bachelor is a charming romance that is quite down to earth despite the whole reality TV backdrop of the story.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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