by Heather Rae Scott, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-084-3
Heather Rae Scott's bubbly romantic comedy The Last Thing I Wanted sees our heroine Victoria Sinclair being persuaded to participate in a dating show, only to realize after she's been picked by the mystery bachelor and the bachelor in question is revealed that she's just won a weekend-long date with Gabe Matheson, one of her ex-boyfriends who also happens to be the one that affected her the most. He's doing the stint for charity while she's doing it as a favor for her friend. Needless to say, they will soon be doing things in the name of love.
Gabe is a pro quarterback who has returned to play for the home team, the Pittsburgh Prowlers. He may be Pittsburgh's golden kid at the moment, but to Tory, however, he's that fellow who she doesn't want back in her life again. Their fathers had problems, to say the least, with each other which came between the two five years ago and the relationship crumbled completely when his career took off. He had convinced himself all this while that he doesn't need someone like Tory in his life. After all, she vanished on him five years ago. Because of the media attention on him, however, he feels that he needs to get this date done without any dent on his public image in order to pursue his dream of being a star quarterback for the home team and helping it make the big time.
The Last Thing I Wanted is a very readable story. It won't break any new ground when it comes to storyline or character development as it could easily be published in one of Harlequin's romantic comedy series romance imprints and no one will bat an eyelid. However, one thing this story has in its favor is Ms Scott's most adorably bubbly way with repartees. This story makes me chuckle several times.
It is Tory that I have an issue with. She's such a stereotypical sad sack heroine. She vanished on Gabe all those years ago because she decided to become a martyr to the "I don't deserve you!" cause. She neglected to inform Gabe of her decision, naturally. Now that she and he are reunited again, she still wants to become a martyr. She's also an unfortunate sad sack of insecurities and she also plays very hard to get. Frankly, this stereotypical woman can be bloody irritating especially early in this story and I'm pleasantly surprised how she doesn't end up dragging the other characters in this story down to her level.
The rest of the story is fine. The overwhelming sense of me having read this story too many times before aside, the hero is pretty likable and the story moves along very nicely and builds up to an appropriate romantic peak. In short, The Last Thing I Wanted is a most readable story. It probably won't stick to my mind too much due to its generic plot and characters and I will be disappointed for a little while longer that Tory doesn't end up getting electrocuted at least once in this story, but it's a most okay kind of read.
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