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Love So True by Louré Bussey
(Arabesque/BET Books, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-7860-0608-0
**
Once upon a time there was a hero who was too good to be true and a heroine who was too stupid to live. They come together in a book called Love So True.

Janelle Sims and Aaron Deverreau meet in a Philadelphia restaurant. He is a Phoenix-based businessman. She dreams of opening a boutique of her original designs.

There is an instant attraction, a karma between the two. After dancing together at a nearby nightclub, Janelle allows Aaron to take her home after her car breaks down. They spend the evening outside her apartment talking and getting to know each other.

She is hesitant to give her phone number to a stranger (although she did get into his car and allow him to drive her home). Aaron is smitten and gives her his home and work phone numbers, making Janelle promise she will call. When she does call weeks later, a woman, his sister, answers the phone and she hangs up.

Janelle is haunted by memories of her womanizing father who abandoned her family. She grew up "fighting the spells of good-looking boys with no-good intentions." She's afraid her fascination with the extremely attractive Aaron will cause her heartbreak.

Janelle says she knows what she wants: "She wanted what was real in a mate, maturity, honesty, dependability, faithfulness, ambitiousness, and someone who would be a positive force by her side as she reached for her dreams." All these qualities describe Aaron. But, rather than risk her future with a nice gorgeous, passionate man with money, Janelle opts for an egotistical, cold fish of a man with money to help finance her boutique. They later become engaged.

Janelle and her fiancé have a big misunderstanding. And, after he tosses her out, she is jobless and in need of financial backing. In a heartbeat, she hightails it cross country to Aaron...for a strictly business venture. Janelle is so insecure she wastes her time – and the readers' – by separating each woman in Aaron's life into business or pleasure categories. His ex-wife, whose insecurities wrecked her marriage to Aaron, tries to warn her.

Her tirades and suspicions become tedious even for St. Aaron. Look, Janelle, I love you more than I have ever loved any woman. I get up in the morning thinking about ways I can make you happy. I go to sleep thinking about how I can do it. I think about you all the time...But all that means nothing if you can't trust me.

There are evil twins, a scheming, slutty sister-in-law, and lots and lots of coincidences that kept me vacillating between a weak three – and a two heart rating for Love So True. Ultimately, the wishy-washy heroine, grammatical errors and the unsatisfying ending did me in.

--Gwendolyn Oborne


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