Getting It! by Rhonda Nelson
(Harl. Tempt. #1007, $4.50, R) ISBN 0-373-69207-2
****
I am not usually a fan of male-bashing ladies or female-hating men. With a series named Chicks in Charge, imagine my surprise when a tale that seemed sure to be full of this was such an enjoyable and entertaining reading experience. Getting It! is worth getting.

Zora Anderson and three friends recuperate from lousy days and broken hearts over drinks. One night they dream up the concept of women needing help from other women so that they don't have to rely on men. It isn't that they hate men, exactly, but they hate the fact that men have options, which include being a lousy boss, not being faithful in relationships and using women because the women’s lack of knowledge. Chicks in Charge is born. While keeping other jobs, the three friends help Zora. But this is her project. She builds it into national organization. They are ready for their first conference.

One of their primary targets is to combat what they consider a sexist book written by Tate Hatcher. His book, What Women Really Want, is full of redneck bull spouted as fact. But Zora also sees intelligence and dry wit in the pages. She is intrigued by the cover picture too. Tate, on the other hand, is intrigued by Zora. Her beauty and red hair aside, he wonders what makes her tick. The media often put them up against each other, but they have never met. Until now.

Tate decides to crash the conference. He signed a two-book deal and his overzealous agent is convinced he can get more fodder by attending. Tate is not so sure but he also doesn't want to lose the deal. Zora, meanwhile, is breaking up with her boyfriend. Her history in romance is not stellar. First, she dated her boss and after he used her brains to make his magazine a success, he dumped her for a copy editor. Recently she has been dating Dex, who has insisted on a platonic relationship for nearly a year. But Zora is frustrated and ready for more; she wants to take it further. To put it simply, she is horny and wants sex. She is sure Dex will come through for her.

Since they have connecting rooms, she decides to confront him while he is in the shower. But it isn’t him. Dex got wind of the sex thing and hightailed it home. The man in the shower is none other than Tate Hatcher. This fun and embarrassing gambit is the beginning of an intriguing, intelligent and absolutely sizzling romance. Tate is a hunky, all male, outwardly manly man. But he is also vulnerable, funny, witty and completely willing to get to know Zora better and help her out with her problems. It is the vulnerable and witty part that makes him a good hero.

Zora rises to the occasion and matches him verbal barb for verbal barb, but she is also intrigued and realizes there is more to this man than she’d guess from his book. Their relationship happens quickly (as do most series tales) but there is depth here that is often missing from this genre too. The antics they participate in as they fall for each other are diverse – everything from sitting through training seminars to playing poker. They share lots of foreplay that borders on the blistering. Their action between the sheets is vivid and erotic.

Zora's friends are traditional friends and don't add a lot to the tale, but it is clear each of them will be featured in one of the stories. The only downfall is the slight misunderstanding at the end. Luckily, the trap of falling into the BIG misunderstanding is easily closed and the story ends with a strong finish.

Getting It! demonstrates how much fun falling in love can be when it is between the right two people. Pick it up and enjoy.

--Shirley Lyons


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