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TROUBLE IN BLOOM
By Heather Webber
Avon, 2007 ($6.99)
Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel
When Cincinnati landscaper Nina Quinn's latest love, hunky Bobby MacKenna, took off for a dream job in Florida, she decided it was time to do some serious self-examination, adapting a healthier lifestyle and giving up men, at least temporarily. Now Bobby's back, pretending to be her fiancé for a hot new reality show called Hitched or Ditched. They are doing an undercover, as it were, investigation for Bobby's sleazy lawyer cousin, who is handling a sexual harassment case for the show's previous host, Jessica Ayers against the show's producer, Willie Sala. Willie's hot new wife Genevieve took Jessica's place, but it's soon apparent that there's trouble in that relationship big time.
The premise of the show is to let the home audience decide whether couples should stay together or break up, after seeing their interviews and watching them interact on a Newlyweds ripoff. That's if the show ever gets filmed, which becomes increasingly doubtful as various calamities befall the cast and crew.
While they're waiting, Nina finds it more and more difficult to keep her distance from Bobby, and he lets her know he's more than willing to take up where they left off. He's come to the city to help his ailing but still lecherous grandfather Mac, and she knows it's just a matter of time before he's gone again. To complicate matters, her ex-husband is still hanging around, and his teenage son is staying with Nina in a house that's been half torn apart by a construction crew that is in no hurry to put it back together. Her mother's attempts to help just make things worse. Then there's her business, Taken by Surprise, which needs her attention too. She specializes in doing garden makeovers, usually as a surprise for someone's spouse or friend. Her workers are mainly ex-cons, and that comes back to haunt her when things start disappearing during her jobs.
Nina is one busy lady, but she manages to juggle all the balls she's got going and have some fun doing it. She's a likable character, and the book, the fourth in the series, is entertaining. The previous Nina Quinn mysteries are DIGGING UP TROUBLE, TROUBLE IN SPADES, and A HOE LOT OF TROUBLE.
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