Sunday, June 21, 2009

How To Score - Robin Wells


How To Score
Robin Wells
Grand Central/Forever

Contemporary Romance

FBI agent Chase Jones is moonlighting as a life coach. It’s really his brother’s profession, but his brother witnessed a crime and had to go into witness protection until the trial. Since the coaching is all conducted over the phone, and Chase feels responsible for his brother’s situation, he volunteered to fill in temporarily. To help tide him over, he’s got files and lists of sports analogies to use on his clients.

Sammi Matthews thinks she needs a life coach. She’s 31, and her employment status as a museum curator is in limbo at the moment. Arlene Arnette is currently the curator of a home-cum-Art Deco museum. When Arlene had a heart attack, the board hired Sammi to replace her. Then Arlene got better, returned to work, and refused to leave. Sammi lives in a home she adores, but only rents, since the owner is thinking about selling. And she can’t afford to buy. But her biggest problem is that she’s not married and working on babies, like the rest of her friends. She’d like to find The One, but every guy she likes ends up injured. In various bizarre accidents, she’s knocked one down, blackened one’s eye, and even caused a few broken ribs.

Chase was supposed to dump Sammi as a client, per his brother’s instructions. But her voice on the phone is just too sexy, so he keeps her as a client, avoiding the subject of payment. That’s fairly creepy. But it gets worse. He gives her an ‘assignment’ to improve her discipline that involves jogging every morning. Then he goes to the park to get a look at her. Stalker, anyone? Of course, he thinks she’s hot. So when her dog knocks him down and practically mauls him, and she brilliantly invites this complete stranger home for coffee, he goes.

Sammi thinks he’s hot, too. And, during his five minutes in her house, she manages to scald him with coffee. Later, she actually gives him a concussion. This gives them an excuse to spend time together, alone, in his apartment. He still hasn’t told her who he is, and goes so far as to ‘coach’ her on the phone from the next room. This all goes on for far too long to be plausible and far past the point of being uncomfortably creepy. Of course, Chase’s big dilemma is how to tell her that he’s been lying to her since day one.

I realize this is supposed to be a comedic romance, but these two characters are just too foolish to believe. Sammi is klutzy, credulous, and adorably (supposedly) ditzy, yet we’re supposed to believe that she’s qualified to run a museum. There are subplots involving Horace, a mama’s boy who needs therapy more than he needs a life coach; the owner of the house in which Sammi lives; and Arlene, the curator of the museum. Each of these subplots is far more inherently interesting than the too-wacky interactions between Sammi and Chase. Readers who enjoy a large dose of ‘zany’ in their novels will love this one. Sadly, it just didn’t work for me.

Rating: 5 ½
June 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-61842-7 (paperback)

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