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Be My Girl!

 
Anything, Any Time, Any Place
by Lucy Gordon
(Silh. Sp. Ed. 1227, $4.25, G) ISBN 0-373-24227-1
***
Kaye Devenham has been bailing her stepbrother Paul out of trouble for most of his life. He's the apple of her mother's eye, and can do no wrong. Even when his villainous employer catches Paul stealing from the company, Kaye's mother expects her to rescue Paul... by marrying the vile employer.

Since Kaye has always adored her brother, and she's never been able to stand up to her mother, she resigns herself to an unwanted marriage. She walks down the aisle of the church to meet her fate.

Imagine her relief and surprise when, in response to the parson's direction to either "speak now, or forever hold your piece," she hears a most welcome but completely unexpected voice halt her wedding the voice of Jack Masefield. Several years earlier, Jack had saved the day for Kaye and her beloved grandfather, Bertie. At that time, Kaye had promised Jack that she would drop whatever she was doing, "anything, any time, any place," in order to do whatever he asked of her in repayment.

He chooses the hour of her wedding to call in the favor.

It seems that Jack's willful daughter, Georgy, is coming to live with him. His ex-wife has not been supervising her adequately. He needs Kaye to help him with Georgy. And while she's at it, he wants her to marry him, in order to present the impression of a more stable home environment in any custody battle that his ex-wife might wage. Since Kaye has loved Jack for all of these years, she has few, if any, objections.

I've been reading Lucy Gordon's romances off and on since my early teens. They were some of the first Harlequins I ever read, and they gave me an appreciation for the genre, and for that quintessential "British" way that she spins a tale. Ms. Gordon creates interesting characters and has a flair for cute and witty situations and dialogue.

This book certainly has its share of those. Kaye's grandfather Bertie and Jack's father Sam are always off on some harebrained adventure or other. A scene with Jack's ex-wife and Kaye's mother is worth a few laughs.

Anything, Any Time, Any Place suffers from predictability, using Ye Olde Big Misunderstanding plot device. One misunderstanding is resolved, only to be replaced by another. And then another. I can't help but think this would have been a better book with one or two of those misunderstandings left out.

However, the book left me with a smile on my face. It was a nice escape on a snowy afternoon.

--Diane Grayson


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