by Janet Evanovich, contemporary (2004, 1991 reissue)
Harper, $7.50, ISBN 0-06-059889-1
Daisy Adams is a very busy woman. She is not only trying to finish her dissertation for her doctorate in geriatric psychology, she is also the Dog Lady of WZZZ, a radio station where she hosts a five-minute cooking-for-doggies show every Monday. Not only that, every morning she gets up at five to deliver newspapers. Then she rushes home to get ready for her crossing guard duty. Throw in the waitressing gig and the long hours of study at the library. Did I mention her internship at the old folks' home?
If that's not enough, she is applying for the temporary job of news reporter after the current guy is involved in an accident.
Boss Steve Crow asks, "You don't have a boyfriend, do you?"
"No. How did you guess?"
Boss Steve Crow is half-American Indian and half-Hispanic and he is rich (old money) too. He is also handsome as sin and as sensitive and nice as they come. Daisy can't resist.
Luckily for her, he can't resist too.
She had a soft spot in her heart for dogs and old people. Steve thought that was nice. He wondered how she felt about minorities. Probably, she loved minorities. He was a shoo-in, he decided. He'd buy a dog, introduce her to his grandparents and then show her his bedroom.
So off Steve goes to "tutor" Daisy in the intricacies of news reporting. Now, every guy or gal worth his or her salt would know the dangers of being stuck in a big vehicle with an attractive fellow who is hots about you, especially in a vehicle with lots of room to move. It's just unfortunate for Steve that she is just too busy to get involved in a relationship.
Never mind. He buys a dog - "Wrap him up!" he tells the woman at the pound - which is cute. Poor Bob the dog ends up more of a menace than bait, however, eating everything. But Bob is nice - he takes up so much space at the sofa that Daisy and Steve have to sit very close together.
Things get more fun when Daisy starts becoming an unlikely superheroine, accidentally causing a drug kingpin to be arrested. Aunt Elsie steps in with her bazooka, and things get ugly for the bad guys. Don't forget Daisy's really awful traffic reports.
There is a lot of things going on in The Rocky Road To Romance, but the romance somehow manages to stay afloat. Not that it is a strong romance - Daisy can be really irritatingly obtuse and too-stupid-to-live at times (your car gets vandalized by drug dealers and you hire a geriatric Aunt Elsie to protect you... how nice, dear), and her hectic schedule makes her a complete bozo. Here is a nice, rich, sensitive, kind man with great car and unlimited credit who changes his whole life for her. What does Daisy do? Shriek "I'm too busy!"
Nonetheless, all is forgiven when this silly woman finally gets a well-deserved nervous breakdown and cries, "I'm an emotional mess!" Hear, hear. For Steve, Aunt Elsie, and the nice adorable brother of Daisy called Kevin, The Rocky Road To Romance gets an 80. After all, laughter's still the best medicine.
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