Duets #77 by Darlene Gardner & Dawn Atkins
(Harlequin, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-44143-6
****
Anything You Can Do is a story of two rivals in the newspaper business who happen to find each other extremely attractive. When they first met, they had “almost” sex, stopping just short of the actual act. Now a year later, they bump into each other, and the sparks fly.

Lane Brooks is in her dream job, writing for a newspaper. She is so enthusiastic about her work that she had a comforter made for her bed that looks like newsprint. She learned from her football coach father the value of competition and her actions define the word. Winning a story is the most important thing to her. She has decided that to get ahead, she must move to a magazine, be successful and then return to the newspaper business.

Clay Crawford is the son of the owner of a rival newspaper. He too is competitive, but his motivation is to prove himself. He has his feet firmly on the ground and concentrates on the “big picture” rather than individual stories. He has decided to get out from under his father in order to show the world he can be his own man and has his own talents.

This sets up a showdown for a job at Splash! Magazine. The owner pits these two in a competition to get a story on the corruption in a feline competition that his cat entered last year and did not win. If you enjoy cats, you will probably enjoy this story more than I. The interactions between Clay and Lane were by and large amusing, but there was much more denial and resistance to getting together than I like. There was even a time when I wondered why Clay bothered to pursue Lane since she was acting like a snob.

But true love prevails over employment success once again and I was entertained enough to be happy for the pair.

The second story, Anchor That Man! also highlights an employment versus true love scenario, but this time in the television industry. Renata Rose hosts a television show called Making it to Marriage. She is billed as “Dr. Renata” although she is just a student hoping to achieve her Ph.D, not yet the real thing. She is recovering from a relationship turned sour in her private life that is starting to affect the advice she gives, and she is losing her audience fast. Her producer injects her show with a co-host. Hawk Hunter (now there’s a hero’s name for you!) is a wanna be network sportscaster. He agrees to the venture only to get airtime that he hopes will boost his career.

The fun begins when serious Renata meets “play for all he’s worth” Hawk. And fun it is. Their different childhoods have created different adult needs, so these two have a lot to figure out. This is a delightful romp and well worth the heading “Romantic Comedy”. The interactions are adult, well written, poignant and witty. This one story is worth the price of the two together.

As this is my first Duets, it is hard to compare with others. Overall I would rate the first story a solid three hearts and the second one a solid four. You will find intelligent career men and women, delightful characters, silly and serious moments, and good romance in both.

--Shirley Lyons


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