HarperTorch, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81304-1
Contemporary Romance, 2001
Gotta Get Next to You isn’t that much a happy romance as the cover suggests. There are some dotty granny and mummy matchmaking antics, but it’s mostly a story about people having (unprofessional) sex while on duty. Not that there’s anything wrong with consensual sex under deception, of course. The hero and heroine are so unhappy, I would be evil to begrudge them their jollies.
Andrea Noble, burned after a lousy marriage, hates all men with an intensity that borders on irrational. Of course, these sort of women are always tad workaholic, overemotional (hysterical at times), and in dire need of getting laid. Anyway, Andrea heads to Bayou Blue, Louisiana to lick her wounds and manage the local problem- and corruption-infested health clinic. Meanwhile, the board of directors are alarmed at the high rate of drug scandals and lack of professionalism the clinic is neck-deep in, so they have PI Lee Matthews going undercover to get to the bottom of it. Lee takes his job way too seriously and starts going under Andrea’s covers.
Of course, Lee too has been burned a bad marriage. He and Andrea circle each other, sniff at each other, et cetera, while Andrea’s mother gleefully tries to get them together. And the obligatory suspense thingie has our two lovey-dovey snippy leads trying to clean up the clinic of all the baddies.
Do I like Gotta Get Next to You? Well, I do find it very readable – finished it in three hours at one go, just in time for dinner. But at the same time, the relationship between Lee and Andrea doesn’t engage me at all. The relationship unfurls in a predictable manner, the heroine shrieks and stamps her feet at a predictable manner, and the old ladies are predictably dotty. It’s not bad, it’s not amazingly earth-shatteringly good either. Think of it as an okay book.