Say Yes
by Lori Foster, contemporary (2000)
Harlequin Duets, $5.99, ISBN 0-373-44089-8

The Cinderella Solution
by Cathy Yardley, contemporary (2000)
Harlequin Duets, $5.99, ISBN 0-373-44089-8


At last! A category that doesn't seem to have my brain hemorrhage on its agenda. Now that's an event to celebrate!

Say Yes is a fun story despite its slow start, and I do adore a story where it is the woman who wants a fling instead of the man as is the norm. Sara Simmons, in the start of the story, wants to practice her golf swing with a rake and with neighbor Gavin Blake's ex-girlfriend's head as the ball. She has caught Gavin's ex in bed with her boyfriend, so she is very eager to see that head flying off that cheating woman's shoulders.

Fortunately for Sara, she calms down a bit and realizes what a hottie Gavin is. Gavin lets her know that he has waited long enough and he definitely wants to be the next and last man in her bed. Our heroine is, understandably, off men at the moment. But that doesn't stop her from having a fling, right?

Too bad Gavin decides that his new motto would be "Why would people buy the cow if the milk is free?" (err...) and decides not to give away his body for free. It's all the way or no go. But not if Sara has her way!

Along the way Gavin watches in befuddlement as Sara keeps adding dogs to her already chaotic menagerie.

Say Yes could have easily gone wrong and turn into a long, tedious case of a sensitive hero babysitting a shrill, insecure whiner, but instead, it turns into a light, fun, delightful romp. No, Sara isn't a twit, and she definitely isn't a Barbie doll. The fun really starts the moment ugly grumpy Satan (if you ask Gavin) or Satin (if you ask Sara) comes into the scene.

Gavin is a man to die for, and Sara is his worthy match in fun and banter. Say Yes is definitely entertainment with a capital E.

Cathy Yardley's The Cinderella Solution starts out fun but it peters out into a predictable conclusion, thus ending up more of a fizzle than an explosive bang.

Charlotte Taylor, tomboy, and her best buddy and partner-in-crime, Gabe Donofrio, strike a bargain. She will undergo a make-over and receive a marriage proposal in a month's time. Gabe hoots, "Get outta here!" The bet is on.

Charlie, with the book The Guide . . . How to Go from Miss Wrong to Mrs. Right in One Year in hand, then proceeds to transform herself into some sort of Julia Roberts does Cinderella beauty and has Gabe's hormones all a-tizzy. And when Jack Landor, Eligible Hunk, moves in to zone on Charlie's personal space, Gabe sees red.

Unfortunately, The Cinderella Solution soon plods and finally comes to a standstill. The same old same happens - she loves Gabe, Gabe loves her, but he decides she's better off with Jack and pushes her away after their lovemaking, etc etc etc. Needless to say, the whole predictability ruins my mood. Next time, please let the characters do want they want without those formulaic contrivances spoiling everything, please!

This Harlequin Duet, as a result, is a mixed bag. Lori Foster's Say Yes has me doing just that. Yes, oh yes, more please. But The Cinderella Solution makes me irritated; I want to be just like the evil stepmother and lock both Gabe and Charlie in the pantry until they promise to behave and never let the Formula Editors mess with their stories again.

Rating: 82


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