One Fiancee to Go, Please
by Jackie Braun
(Sil. Rom. #1479, $3.50, G) ISBN 0-373-19479-X
***
Jack Maris figures his big chance has come at last. He’s about to become vice president of a company that could become big and he also could have a shot at getting the company when the elderly president steps down. There’s just one problem - the president likes family men. Jack isn’t married, isn’t even seriously involved with anyone at the moment, and his mother, father and sister not only aren’t close but they’re far from the perfect family.

Jack’s best friend tells him to pretend he is engaged. Once Jack has gotten into the company who will care if he breaks up with some imaginary fiancée? But Jack isn’t all that good at lying and he says his fiancée is in town when he’s asked about her. Now he’s supposed to bring his intended with him to meet the president’s wife and he doesn’t even know anyone in town! Then he remembers that there is a female nearby who owes him a big favor. . .

Tess Donovan is a busy woman. She’s working on getting her degree from college and waitressing to earn enough money to do that. She’s also tired and when she accidentally dumps a bowl of chili in a handsome stranger’s lap - a handsome stranger in a very expensive suit - she knows she owes that guy a big favor for not making her pay for a new suit. She didn’t think he’d ask her to return the favor by posing as his fiancée for the evening. Still, he is good-looking and she does owe him, so . . .

Of course things go downhill from there. I could buy the beginning - because the company president knows everyone in town, of course he knows Tess. Suddenly the man’s wife is telling Tess’s family how pleased they are to hear about the engagement and her family is involved and then both she and Jack are totally embroiled in their fake engagement.

My problem is that somewhere the two of them should be grown ups and call a halt to the game. Yes, they are interested in each other and neither wants to let the other one down but enough is enough. Jack is convinced no one in his family should be married but he knows Tess is a marrying kind of woman. Tess, on the other hand, has a very nice family. That family really ought to know what the truth is at some point no matter how attracted she is to Jack.

The story was cute. The plot is a little trite but it was still well done. The hero and heroine seemed really interested in each other and Tess’s family is a likable cast of characters. However, I think the story would have been a lot more interesting if Tess and Jack managed to face up to the problems their charade would cause before the end. Instead the hero and heroine act rather immaturely in front of a group of people who seem to care about them both. The two of them do some growing up as well as falling in love before the story is over. They just could have done more.

--Irene Williams


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