Three Times A Lady
by Niobia Bryant, contemporary (2001)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-165-0


Oh bummer. Another one of those single father woos a straight-laced no-man, no-time, no-life heroine stories. And in Three Times A Lady, we have five kids of the hero to play matchmakers. That's right, five kids to drive one up the wall five times over.

Actually, these kids, whom I rechristen Dopey, Annoying, Screamy, Pipsqueak, and Monsterboy, want their foster daddy to have a mommy to pamper and spoil them. Who they have in mind for dowdy mystery author Jordan Banks is Mia Gordon, the no-life, no-time, no-man, no-originality woman who moves in next door. Some nefarious folks trying to tear this family apart will step right in to stop Mia and Jordan's subsequent childish whinings and sulkings.

Three Times A Lady is cute in that this time around, the hero, not the heroine, is the klutzy one. But he just sulks and whines and pouts throughout the novel, and Mia is more than happy to join the childishness. Naturally, at the end of the day Mia learns that having a top-paying job is no fun compared to taking care of the five Banks monsters. Someone needs to see a shrink.

Tedious misunderstandings and temper tantrums aside, Three Times A Lady isn't even original or remotely interesting. The humor could have been funny if the author - who admittedly has a nice, snappy style - isn't rehashing such a tired Harlequin American category romance formula. And five kids, goodness me. It's enough to make vasectomy the way to live.

Rating: 74


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