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Impulsive by Catherine Hart
(Zebra, $5.99, R) ISBN 0-8127-5998-1
***
Ms. Hart dedicates her romance, Impulsive, to female football fans. Being a female football fan I found a good deal to like about this tale, and not just because the story revolves around a fictitious NFL team. Although I thought there were a few problems with Impulsive, I very much enjoyed the snappy, humorous dialogue found throughout the entire book.

Jessica Myers loves football. In fact, she can kick a pretty mean field goal when she wants to. So when her godfather asks her to use her expertise as a reporter to provide some "upbeat" exposure for his new expansion team, the Columbus Knights, Jesse agrees.

However, when her godfather tells her he wants her to pretend to be the star quarterback's girlfriend in order to get the inside scoop, Jesse is less than thrilled. As far as Jesse is concerned, Ty James is a gorgeous pain in the posterior. Neither Jesse nor Ty believe that they can convince the team that they are a couple.

Tall and flat of chest, Jesse hardly resembles the busty little cheerleaders Ty usually dates. Then again, Ty can't help but notice that when Jesse smiles, she is more than just pretty. And her long legs, firm from years of playing soccer, also get his attention. But Jesse tells him not to get any ideas because there's no way she's going to end up as Jesse James!

Jesse and Ty work on acting like a couple, and Ty takes it upon himself to improve Jesse's looks. Having spent his youth hanging around his mother's beauty salon, Ty can snip and set hair with the best of them. Just as this very odd twosome begins to blossom into a couple, sinister things start happening to the Knights. Players are dying and being poisoned and it seems like someone wants to make sure that, as a team, the Knights never see the light of day.

Impulsive is basically a very lighthearted romance-romance, and when it stays a lighthearted romance it works well. It's the addition of the grim subplot (with all the players dying) that seems very out of place. The villain is obvious and the suspense is not very suspenseful.

However, I think for the most part that football fans will enjoy this story, although there are a few errors. For instance, during a game Jessica notes that the Knights are on their own "52-yard line." There is no such thing a 52-yard line in football; each team has 50 yards to call its own. (I'm certain that if Jessica had been a Penn State alumna rather than an Ohio State grad this mistake wouldn't have been made just kidding all you Buckeye fans, just kidding.)

Without a doubt the best thing about Impulsive is the wonderful humorous dialogue, which includes lots of fun, sexy quips and double entendres between Jesse and Ty.

"I get the feeling you throw a smooth pass on or off the gridiron, but I'm not much for playing 'bump and run,' Ty,"

"Me either. I like to retain possession as long as possible...The truth, Jess. Since we met haven't you wondered what it would be like to get a quarterback--this quarterback-in the sack?

Of course, it's inevitable that Ty and Jesse will get together. Forget about romance. Forget about Ty's gorgeous and brawny frame. What woman could resist a man who knows how to cut and style her hair?

--Judith Flavell


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