Zebra, $6.99, ISBN 0-8217-6844-1
Contemporary Romance, 2001
Whoa, Kasey Michaels fires off one-liners like she’s Joan Crawford holding an AK-47 in a room full of Bette Davis clones. Some readers will find this kamikaze barrage hilarious, while others, I suspect, will have nosebleed. Still, if I pinch my nose hard enough, I’ll find Love to Love You Baby (isn’t that a Donna Summer song?) a cute read.
Jack Trehan, a former major league pitcher until an arm injury forces him into early retirement, is so sad. He’s so rich and he’s not even thirty yet, but oh, look, he is bored and his fabulous house has no furniture. How sad!
Someone hand me my tranquilizer gun.
Jack is still groggy from sleep when he finds himself agreeing to take in his cousin sister’s baby. He doesn’t even know what he has agreed to (his mind having wandered off sometime when Cecily was babbling about “the child inside” or something) until he wakes up one morning and finds a baby at his doorstep.
Poor Keely McBride. She wants to be a top interior decorator, catering to the rich, fabulous, and elite. Unfortunately, she finds herself struggling to make ends meet in suburban Pennsylvania. Her only client is Jack, and he insists that she takes care of the baby if she wants him to hire her.
I’m sorry if you’re insulted by this sexist premise, but you know how romance heroines are. They were busy taking care of sick mommies or (painfully) losing their virginities to their self-absorbed professors/mentors when the term sexual harassment suit was introduced to the English language. Anyway, do like I did: pinch the nose and dive in.
Still, despite the whole insulting premise, Keely’s funny. She comes close to being a complete idiot at times, but she reels herself back in just fine. Jack is also cute as a man who seethes as his twin brother moves on to glorious heights in baseball. These are two people who are so used to seeing themselves as stereotypes (“the brawn”, “the must-be-successful-or-die nincompoop”, guess who is who) that it’s fun to see them realize that they have more depths than that.
I really like the way the author brings up everything baseball in such a way that Jack’s past career isn’t just wallpaper. Things get really wacky when mafias and other “I wish people will stop copying The Sopranos” stereotypes burst into the scene. Of course, don’t forget the dotty, matchmaking psycho old biddy. The day I become like these dotty old bags, obsessed with the sex lives of my nephews, nieces, or grandkids, someone please lock me up in a loonybin.
Still, despite the stereotype mess, the whole story is fun. I like Keely, I like Jack, and I actually adore Cecily, who springs a nasty surprise on everybody. Too bad smart cunning women aren’t qualified to be romance heroines, because I’d love to read one featuring Cecily.
I find this one funny, although the author’s one-liner overkill can really be trying at times. With likable characters too, this one is a nice, pleasant pick-me-up read.