Mr. Fix-It

Crystal Hubbard
September 2008, Contemporary Romance
Genesis Press, $6.99, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 1585713260

Grade: D
Sensuality: Warm

I love straight contemporary romance and was eager to read Mr. Fix-It. Unfortunately, the book was not an enjoyable read and I cannot recommend it.

Khela Halliday is a romance writer about to receive a major award at a writer's conference, but she doesn't have a date. Prompted by her best friend, Khela asks her building's handyman to attend the weekend conference. She met Carter several years earlier when she moved into the building, saw him polishing banisters, and assumed he was the building super (of course it's soon obvious to us that he is not the super, but it takes Khela much longer to catch on). Her best friend has spent years trying to fix Khela up with Carter by breaking things in Khela's apartment and calling Carter to fix them.

Carter eagerly agrees to be Khela's date since he thinks she's the most exciting woman he's ever met. Once they get to the conference, Khela is embarrassed to tell people Carter is a handyman and leads everyone to believe he's a corporate troubleshooter. Khela also worries that Carter is a gold digger like her ex-husband.

I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for Carter and Khela. Poor wealthy, successful Khela who believes men only want her for her money. Poor Carter who's so gorgeous he hasn't had to pay for a meal or drink in years. (The minute he enters a bar or restaurant, women send food and drinks.) We're treated to page after page of women drooling over Carter. Of course he doesn't like this, and wants to be appreciated for more than his looks. I could never warm up to either. They are successful, gorgeous people who spend too much time feeling sorry for themselves.

To add to my problems, I'm not convinced that Carter and Khela are truly in love. Lust? Yes. But love? We just don't see them together enough for me to believe in love. They are together for a few days, then one or both would offend the other, and they'd be apart for weeks. During their times apart, Carter entertained himself by getting into fights often very bloody in bars and on the street.

Rather than focusing on a real romance between Carter and Khela, there is too much time spent on descriptions of designer this and designer that, from a Chippendale desk to Robert Vivier heels to a Toto toilet. I could have done with fewer descriptions and more time devoted to actual interactions between Khela and Carter. In addition to excessive descriptions, I found myself pulled out of the story all too frequently by over-the-top language, verging on purple prose.

Both Carter and Khela have interesting histories that were never fully developed. I found myself more interested in the romance of Khela's best friend and a British auctioneer than I was with Khela. If I hadn't been reading this for review, I would have skipped much of the book.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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