Duets 17

Duets 48

Good Girls Do

The Marine Meets His Match

Too Smart for Marriage

Mad, Bad and Blonde
by Cathie Linz
(Berkley Sensation, $7.99, PG)† ISBN 978-0425-23340-5
There are often couples who seem to really like each other and yet, there is something off in their relationship.† They obviously think they have it but to others, it looks like they fight all the time or that one person just isnít as committed as the other.† And many times, the couple is oblivious to how others see them.

The hero and heroine in Mad, Bad, and Blonde fit this bill, and thatís just one of my reasons for not heartily endorsing this story.

Faith West is a bit spoiled and really has led a charmed life.† Her parentsí marriage seems solid, she has a cousin who is her best friend, she is a committed librarian, her fatherís investigation business is successful and she is about to marry a great guy.† And all seems perfect until her wedding day when she is sitting at the church and gets a text from her groom that he has left the country since he needs to find adventureÖbasically telling her she bores him.† Faith goes on her honeymoon to Italy by herself with her familyís blessing.† She is determined to change, hence she becomes a blonde. There she meets a hot guy who just knocks her socks off.† They sightsee and even make breathtaking love.† All is great until her last morning, when she finds his wallet with an investigatorís license.† She assumes he had been hired by her father, and she is furious.

Faith returns home to Chicago, and joins her fatherís firm.† She dresses differently and really feels like a badassÖ her new life has begun.† First, she finds out that her love from Italy is none other than Caine Hunter, who works for her fatherís nemesis and primary competitor.† Caine is investigating his own fatherís suicide, which he is convinced was predicated by an investigation done by West Investigations and signed off by her father.† Two years ago, some scientists tried to sell some secrets for cash.† All evidence pointed to Karl Hunter as the embezzler.† He then apparently committed suicide because he couldnít handle the scandal. Caine was a Marine and is just now out of the Corps, able to try to prove his fatherís innocence.† He challenges Faith to prove her father had gotten it right.†

They start working together - very reluctantly and with little trust. In fact, they distrust each other so much they often start arguing in the middle of the interrogation of a witness and the witness gets away. It is meant to be comical but most of these scenes fell flat for me.†Much of their interaction is arguing or accusing.†Then of course, one kisses the other and the sparks fly.

A little of that goes a long way, but sadly, much of the story is based on that love Ė hate relationship.†There are other distractions, too.† Another PI who is investigating the same case for one of the other men who worked in the lab is one of the more interesting characters.†There is also a side tale about Faithís parents when he mother suspects her father of having an affair and asks her to look into it.†This leads to even more miscommunication between Faith and Caine, causing more displays of emotions and more lovemaking.

Faith feels like her mad, bad and blonde act is working, but she does miss being that fun librarian too.† Caine thinks she is hot and he has never had a relationship with anyone like her.† Of course, he has issues because he watched his dad mourn his mom for years and is determined not to love anyone like that.†Most of this felt like it had been written before and written better.† I really struggled with their arguing/foreplay.† And the bits of humor just felt worn and tired.†The whole premise about Caineís father never captured my interest, and in fact,† it seemed a little weird that there was all this attention from all these parties out of the blue for a case that had been closed for two years.

If you are looking for a madcap romantic comedy, Mad, Bad and Blonde is a wanna-be that just doesnít hit on all cylinders.† †

--Shirley Lyons

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