30 March 2014

The Nerd Who Loved Me (Nerds, Book 2)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

She's got the high-kicks...
Lainie Terrell is no ordinary single mother. With feathers in all the right places, she's one of the hottest showgirls in Vegas. Aside from a hot-tempered ex-boyfriend on her sequined tail, Lainie's biggest problem is finding a decent babysitter for her son. Lainie's dilemma is solved when she ropes Harry Ambrewster, the casino's shy-but very smart and cute-accountant, into the task.
He's got the low-down...
Inheriting his chemist father's high I.Q. and sexy good looks, Harry has always been intrigued by Lainie. He isn't thrilled at the prospect of babysitting, but he'll do anything to get near the gal who fuels his craziest fantasies. Then Lainie's dangerous ex comes knocking...
Their option? Run faster than a pair of net stockings...
In disguise and on the lam, Lainie's masquerading as the perfect wife. Harry's doubling as the he-man protector. But with a set-up this hot, who's fooling who? When the lights go down, and the masks come off, a nerd like Harry could be just the right ignition to set a woman like Lainie on fire...

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, St. Martin's Press, 2004; bought at a used book store in 2005.

First line: “At work, my mommy wears teeny-tiny, sparkly clothes.”

My thoughts: Vicki Lewis Thompson is one of those authors who, after first discovering them, I begin collecting everything of theirs I come across. NERD IN SHINING ARMOR was the first of her books I read, way back in 2005, and since then I've collected the entire Nerds series, though this is only the second of those I've gotten around to reading. I've read seven other books by Ms. Thompson, most of which I've enjoyed, and I have another whopping forty-three of her books in my massive to be read pile!

From the first page I was hooked. I don't think this is considered a trope, but I do especially like stories where the hero is not used to being around children but finds himself having to interact with one. Although since Dexter, aged 4, is one of those kid geniuses who talks and acts much older than he really is, and Harry the accountant is also pretty danged intelligent, Harry doesn't really have much trouble talking to and relating to Dexter for long. Which makes him the perfect babysitter, as the usual babysitters don't last since they're all apparently to dumb to keep Dexter amused. I have this thing about kids in books. I like when a character has kids, but I want the kids to be realistic actual characters in their own right, and not just overly precocious plot devices. Dexter, with his super intelligence and often adult behavior, sometimes tread close to that brink, but he never toppled over it. Since my own kids are intelligent but non-geniuses, I don't know how realistic Dexter is, but overall I liked the way he was written and was happy with him.

While Harry has admired Lainie from afar, or at least from the audience at her shows at the casino where they both work, he would never seriously consider asking her out. For one, why would she want to go out with a boring accountant? And for two, Harry's mother was also a single parent show girl, and Harry wants a wife who is the complete opposite. Meanwhile, Lainie doesn't think Harry could ever get serious about her because, for one, see his for two above, which Lainie is aware of, and for two, she figures he wouldn't think she's smart enough for him.

I really liked Lainie. I was just a tad uncomfortable with the fact that she moved her child out of state and away from her ex without having anything set up legally through the courts to protect her rights in case the ex came calling, though I know women do this all the time. And I totally get why she did it. And when the chips were down, I admired that she was prepared to sacrifice her own happiness for the future well being of her son. I would do just about anything for my kids, but I don't think I would have been wiling to do what Lainie was prepared to do.

I loved Harry. He isn't the chiseled bronzed stud that the hero often is (not that I don't like them also), but neither is he the stereotypical nebbishy geek that the word nerd often suggests. He's a good man, who wants a good woman who can satisfy him both sexually and intellectually. When there is danger, his adrenaline flows and he may be frightened, like a normal person would be, but he tamps the fear down and acts courageously. He's a gentleman, but he's also a man.

Throw in the worthless ex who needs to show his father he has an heir in order to inherit a fortune and pay off his gambling debts, Harry's mother and her ex-showgirl friends, her long time boyfriend with suspicious mob behavior, and a good ole boy time share salesman/snake wrangler, a little suspension of disbelief for the slightly outrageous plot, and you've got a funny and very enjoyable good time that will leave you with the happy feels. 

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