On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie changes her life. On Thursday, she tries to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody does.
Quinn McKenzie is dating the world's nicest guy, she has a good job as a high school art teacher, she's surrounded by family and friends who rely on her, and she's bored to the point of insanity. But when Quinn decides to change her life by adopting a stray dog over everyone's objections, everything begins to spiral out of control. Now she's coping with dognapping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy . . . for her.
Small-town life in Tibet, Ohio, is just an updated, rollicking version of Peyton Place in romance novelist Crusie's (Tell Me Lies) zany second novel about a 35-year-old high school art teacher's chance at love. Quinn McKenzie leads a prosaic, dull existence until a stray mutt crosses her path and becomes the catalyst that changes her priorities. Suddenly, her safe relationship with reliable Bill Hilliard, the school sports coach, takes a downturn when Bill forbids her to keep the dog. Crusie delves into the amatory machinations of the town through the sparkling, gossipy dialogue that takes place at the local hair parlor where Quinn's best buddy, Darla, works. While Darla tries to ignite her slumbering marriage to Max, Quinn decides to muscle her way into the heart of Max's brother, Nick, who also happens to be her sister's ex-husband. Is it possible to keep romance in a lasting relationship? That's the question that drives the droll narrative. Using zingy one-liners ("Nick is tall, dark and detached from humanity"), Cruise explores the underlying core that keeps couples together, detailing her characters without stereotypes. The local flirt is well-meaning and oblivious to her role in breaking up shaky marriages--she just wants her house taken care of; the solid, Rock of Gibraltar coach, Bill, actually goes off the deep end when Quinn moves out on her own; and Nick, the town bachelor, learns that love and lust don't necessarily cancel each other out. Crusie manages to infuse a great deal of humor about human nature into this contemporary romance, deploying as well an engaging cast of characters who progress through various contretemps to a fittingly happy ending. $150,000 ad/promo; author tour.