Just Say Yes! by Caroline Anderson
(Harl. Romance #3605, $3.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-03605-01
***
Just call it "Strangers on a Train".

After a grueling day at work in London, all Georgia Beckett wants to do is doze on the train ride home and dream about the hot bath and glass of wine awaiting her. But then a gorgeous man takes a seat across from her, and she can't help but sneak peeks at him as he takes calls on his cell phone. He distracts her so much that later she discovers she took his cell phone by mistake when she left the train.

Matthew Fraser is only too happy about the mistake. The red-haired beauty intrigued him. He drives over to her house, where he discovers she's a single mom raising two children. A single mom who's suddenly dateless for a charity auction! Matt, who happened to receive an invitation for the said event, insists on chaperoning.

Matt discovers that Georgia is a renowned garden designer who, in a year's time, will be exhibiting at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. To support the charity, she will be auctioning several hours of her time to the highest bidder. Naturally, Matt cannot resist the challenge. And Georgia discovers that Matt lives at nearby Heveling Hall, an estate that this garden designer has mooned over from afar.

Georgia is annoyed that Matt has bid so high for her time, though she's attracted to him. After an unhappy marriage that ended with her husband's accidental death, she doesn't want to be trapped by another commitment. Part of her misery in her first marriage was that her husband was money hungry; since Matt is also wealthy, she fears that it would be history repeating itself, though Matt doesn't behave like her first husband.

So Georgia and Matt are forced to spend time together working on restoring Heveling's gardens. Georgia loves the work, loves the estate, and quickly finds that she loves Matt, though he's too quick to resolve problems with his wallet.

Just Say Yes! has several good points. The author did a nice job with her research in such a short amount of space. It was interesting to learn something about microlites (small aircraft) and the Chelsea Flower Show. The story also moved quickly with no extraneous scenes or descriptions.

The problem was with the characters. Georgia seemed to have perpetual PMS and I couldn't understand what a seemingly nice guy like Matt saw in her. Well, he did keep saying how beautiful she was, but I had hoped it would be more than physical attraction that drew them together. Several times throughout the book, she'd snap his head off for no more than a misunderstanding; considering the favors he was doing for her, I felt that her reactions were akin to a little girl stamping her foot for attention.

Matt's problem was that he was perfect. Too perfect. He was always there for her, rescuing her, helping her, understanding her, to the point where he simply wasn't believable. Perhaps the rich knight is what some readers like, but I like my heroes with a few more nicks and chinks in their armor.

Lastly, the author loves exclamation points. (Check out the title!) There were enough of them in the story to be distracting.

If you like fast, sweet reads with flawless heroes and petulant heroines, then you may enjoy this novel. Otherwise, I'd suggest you pass on this one.

-- Diana Burrell


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