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Bet Me
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Minerva Dobbs is an overweight, over-cautious woman in her 30s, but when she hears her ex-boyfriend bet handsome Calvin Morrisey that he can't get Min into bed within a month, she decides to give both men a taste of their own medicine. Inevitably, Min hits a stumbling block when she finds herself falling hard for Cal, who lures her with rich food and mind-boggling kisses. Cal, in turn, can't resist the lush, sexy Min. Their road is not an easy one, and they have to consume massive quantities of Chicken Marsala and Krispy Kremes-some might argue too many of each-before they reach their happy ending. Hurst's voice contains an energy and exuberance that leaves little doubt that she's the perfect narrator for Crusie's (Faking It, etc.) heartfelt comedy of errors; she ably captures both the fragile and feisty sides of Min's personality. The Southern accent she adopts may confuse some listeners since the story is set in a generic Midwestern city, and the audio can bog down in dialogue-heavy scenes. But listeners will hardly notice as they savor this zesty, vibrantly told tale. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 1, 2003). (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Though short on plot and completely lacking in suspense, Crusie's latest (after Faking It) is still an entertaining story featuring a cast of immensely appealing characters and smart dialog. Min is on the rebound from David and searching for a date to take to her sister's upcoming wedding; Cal is on the rebound from his last girlfriend, who was pressuring him to set a wedding date. From the first chapter, it's obvious that these two will meet, date, and fall in love, but it's their journey toward happily-ever-after that will keep readers turning pages. Of course, there are numerous hilarious complications along the way: Min's sister is having cold feet as her wedding day gets closer, Min's mother is next to impossible, and Min herself is having trouble fitting into her bridesmaid dress. When one of Cal's business partners falls hard for Min's best friend, the stage is set for a series of coincidences, each more outlandish than one can imagine, as Min and Cal are forced together with predictable results. For readers who can't bear for the story to conclude, Crusie even goes so far as to add an epilog that condenses the next 20 years in the lives of her characters. Enthusiastically recommended for most collections of contemporary romance and women's fiction.-Margaret Hanes, Sterling Heights P.L., MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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