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Bachelorette Blues by Robyn Amos
(Silhouette Yours Truly, $3.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-52086-7
***
"...If you break the chain, beware. Bad luck will be yours..."

Shayna Gunther doesn't believe in chain letters. She doesn't believe in coincidences. And she doesn't believe that her nine-year old niece has sent her a chain letter to prop up her sagging love life. "Mom says you're long overdue for a boyfriend."

But Shayna Gunther's got it all together. Shayna's well-ordered life is compartmentalized and color-coded from her events calendar and project folders right down to her underwear. Yep. She's a living, breathing ad for her successful business as a life management consultant.

High on Shayna's current "to do" list is to be married by the time she turns 30. "She'd made a list of eligible bachelors and had pursued them not as people, but as goals." Her prey: computer consultant Phillip Browning, Jr., accountant Frederick Montgomery and restaurateur Jason McKnight, all members of the local chapter of Minority Business Owners organization.

"They were all successful enough to be her equal, intelligent enough to bring good genes to the union and handsome enough to give her goose bumps. Any of these three would be a good catch."

What Shayna needs to do is get a life!

As she sets out to put her plan in motion, you know something this simple can't be. Shayna's mission is hindered by two items not on her checklist: a chain of events that just possibly could be attributed to the broken chain letter and Maxwell Winston.

Although Max is successful, good looking, intelligent and goose-bump-inspiring, he didn't even rate an honorable mention on Shayna's eligible bachelors list.

Why? Max plays games...for a living. After life on the corporate fast track and the stress-related death of his 30-something mentor, Max left his job designing video games for a software manufacturing firm. He's now challenged by "solving the puzzle, finding the quirks and traps in someone else's games." As his own boss, he still creates games, but now at his own pace. Can a grown man earn a living playing video games every day?

"People -- not just kids -- are willing to pay a lot of money to someone who can get them through the rough spots. I produce a newsletter that provides hot tips for the latest games, and I have a small staff that mans a video game hotline."

The sometimes myopic and shallow Shayna can't understand Max's lackadaisical lifestyle. She takes him on as a challenge, a project. Shayna Gunther will put order into Max Winston's life. However, the only thing Max wants in his life is Shayna. Why else would he allow her to arrange his shirts and pants by color? Shayna still pursues the eligible bachelors, while struggling against her growing attraction to Max and going down with the undertow.

The well-organized Shaya's adventures in klutziness are very funny slapstick. It gave a very rigid and often shallow character a softer, more human edge. I found her reactions to the chain letter realistic. Max is my hero. He's consistent and provides Shayna with much needed grounding.

The chemistry between the two main characters is quite good. However, the rhythm of the novel is a bit off. It doesn't have the tightness I've come to expect in a Robyn Amos novel.

Bachelorette Blues is a pleasant story by an up-and-coming romance writer. Amos has found yet another vehicle in which to use her fondness for computers in a story I enjoyed. It's worth a look.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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