Dating Game
By Bella Marie
Nov 7, 2006 - 2:38:00 PM

It's been fifteen years since Lainie Ames left behind her life in Naples, Florida. Back then, she was a chubby computer nerd with the hots for the prom king. When she left, she vowed she'd return successful in every possible way. Well, now she's come home, but it's not exactly the way she's imagined her homecoming to be. Her gambling-addicted ex-husband left her with a huge debt, her high-tech firm went bankrupt, and she was forced to return to her father's house because she had nowhere else to go. But there's no way she'd admit any of that to her family! Her father and half-sister believe she's wealthy, successful, and just taking some time off to relax after her divorce. Little do they know Lainie needs more than a little rest and relaxation to fix everything that's gone wrong in her life.

Little by little, Lainie begins to put her life together. The first order of business is getting a job, which she does, working in the detective agency of Jackson "Jack" Danforth III. The second is getting Blaine Harper, the prom king himself, to notice her. That doesn't prove to be as difficult as she imagines, and soon she seems to have it all. Or she would, if Jack stopped interfering in every well-planned move she makes. But is Jack simply trying to protect Lainie, or does he have his own designs on her heart?

In DATING GAME, Ms. Bradt pens a hilarious romance. From the first page, when Lainie's homecoming fantasy is shattered by reality, the author sets a fun tone for the rest of the book. As Lanie gets herself into one difficult situation after another, it's impossible not to root for her. She's down on her luck, yet she never gives up. She's got plenty of spunk and resilience, traits which she falls back on again and again to make it through.

The romance aspect of the book is also well done, as the two men vying for Lainie's attention are intriguing in their own right. It's easy to relate to the heroine as she gets to know them both and struggles with her perceptions of herself, her past and her present. Although Lanie is not a teenager anymore, she still has plenty to learn about herself, and lots of growing up to do. With a healthy dash of wit and a great display of comedic timing, Ms. Brandt makes DATING GAME a must-read novel.

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