Bargain Hunting

Rhonda Pollero
November 2012, Contemporary Romance
Gallery Books, $15.00, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 141659082X
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

This review contains spoilers for previous books in the series.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Rhonda Pollero, and it is actually the fifth book in the series. However, it easily stands on its own. While I am definitely not a fashionista, it is a fun read in a Legally Blonde way.

Finley Anderson Tanner, named after the two men her mother was sleeping with when she was conceived, is still obsessively trying to buy parts on eBay for her do-it-yourself Rolex - a Lady DateJust one with a pink oyster bevel. Work is going okay. It is work, but since her mother has her trust fund tied up, she needs the money to support her shopping habits. As a paralegal she normally handles estate cases, but she has a proven record of solving some tricky problems and a couple of her bosses are giving her special assignments.

She has a crush on her boss Tony Caprelli because he is so hot and really perfect for her since he is so articulate, honest, polished and educated. Still, private eye Liam McGarrity is the one who raises her heart rate and blood pressure. He has bad news written all over him. How many women has he conned with those crystal blue eyes that seem to say “love me and you can fix me”?

After spending the afternoon being raked over the coals by her mother for bringing Liam as her date to her sister’s wedding, and then putting on a show (and not the PG kind), she decides to pamper herself with take-out Chinese food and more than one mojito.

With a full belly and the glow of alcohol she drifts off to sleep, but she is rudely awakened around two A.M. by banging. She discovers Liam at the door, barely able to stand, supported by his ex-wife, Ashley. How can a girl even think about getting excited about a guy who seems to have a “friends with benefits" relationship with said ex-wife? However, that is not the big problem. Liam has been shot and his shirt is saturated with blood from his armpit to the hem. Nerved out by all the blood (but with the presence of mind to steer him away from her priceless white couch), Finley immediately wants to take Liam to the hospital but Liam obstinately refuses. Soon, Finley is knee deep in aiding and abetting and prevaricating not only to the cops but to her boss.

If you have an aversion to brand name dropping, this is not the book for you because Finley’s main goal in life is to have the good things and for the good things have a label. But I found Finley’s materialism humorous and fun and even after a while attempted to visualize her outfits.

The book is written in first person. However, Ms. Pollero avoids the common pitfall of the heroine’s thoughts coming across as frenetic. Finley’s comments are funny, sardonic, and acerbic but balanced suitably with the action and mystery of the story.

While I don’t know all that happened between Liam and Finley in previous books, for me this book was the perfect introduction to the characters, even though it is book five. It appears that there was a triangle going on between Liam, Tony and Finley, and since I personally dislike that plot device, I am glad that I missed it. I can now easily go back and read the earlier books without wondering if the author is trying to play me.

The book has light on emotional depth and I wouldn’t say that is heavy on the romance. I am hopeful that the relationship develops further in future books. Still, even with that I found the romance satisfying and believable.

This is an amusing, entertaining read and I liked it.

-- Leigh Davis

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