Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson
Series: Writer Friends #4
Also in this series: Tangled Up in You
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: March 17th 2009
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What does a gal have to do to get a good date in this town?
Adele Harris can't even begin to answer that question. She's had so many lousy dates that she's sure she's cursed. Why else would every man she goes out with suddenly act like he's lost his mind—and his manners? Adele thought life couldn't get any more confusing . . . until she learns the marriage of her seemingly Miss Perfect sister is on the rocks. So she goes back to their hometown to give her a shoulder to cry on, only to run smack into Zach Zemaitis . . . the one who got away.
Texans love God, family, and football, though not always in that order
Zach, a former pro star, knows all about football. As for the other two, well, he's doing his best. But when Adele comes charging back into his life—still all lush curves and beautiful, big blue eyes—he wonders if his best is good enough. After all, he did her wrong. Can a woman with her track record ever really believe that he's serious this time . . . or is he destined to be another bad date?
Just a warning, there will be spoilers in the review, but I’ve marked them.
I’m sort of on the fence about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed it. It was a quick, light, fun read. But on the other hand, I really didn’t care much for the hero. Well, ok, I liked the hero, but I didn’t like his past. I had a really hard time separating who he was then from who he is now, which made his HEA suspect.
Adele is shocked when her sister calls her out of the blue and says her marriage is over and she needs Adele to come back to their hometown with her. Although hesitant, she agrees because her sister never asks her for anything. But shorty after Adele arrives, her sister has complications with her pregnancy and is ordered into the hospital on bed rest for the remainder of her term – four full months. That means Adele’s trip isn’t going to be a quick one, because she needs to take care of her niece. And doesn’t it just figure that her niece’s new best friend is none other than her old college flame’s daughter.
Zach did the right thing back in the day by dumping Adele and marrying his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Devon, Adele’s archenemy. Ten years of bad marriage later, Zach can’t take it any more and serves Devon with divorce papers. But shortly after, she’s killed in a car accident. Three years later, Zach has given up his dream at ESPN so he can be home with his daughter, and is coaching High School football.
Being the single parent of a teenager isn’t really conducive to having a sex life, so when Adele suddenly shows up back in town, he’s surprised and pleased, thinking she’s the answer to every need he has. Adele’s guarding her heart, because she’s suffered through three years of bad dates and because Zach broke it once already.
Here’s what I liked: Adele. She was a great character. Kind of fun and typical Rachel Gibson. Even though she suffered through three years of bad dates, she still has a good sense of humor and wasn’t too cynical. Her relationship with her niece was cute, and I like how she tried hard to be the “cool” Aunt, but still tried to be an adult about it.
I really liked the romance between Adele and Zach. The sexual tension between them was very well done. I loved their bantering back and forth and the way Adele fought her attraction to Zach, but then gave in and just went with it.
SPOILER ALERT There will be spoilers from this point on.View Spoiler »Now on to the part I didn’t like..
Zach. I’m really on the fence about Zach. He was written as a man. A real man. I honestly think he may be the most realistic portrayal of a man I’ve ever read in a romance novel. He loved football, didn’t understand women and their emotional needs, freaked out when his daughter wanted to talk about puberty and periods and had no problem with the fact that for 10 years he constantly cheated on his wife. It’s the last I had an issue with. The double standard just pisses me off. Zach was a big time pro-football player who’s wife wanted the status of his name more than she wanted him, so she moved back to her hometown and built a big fat house to lord over everyone that she was ZACH’S WIFE.
Meanwhile, Zach continues to live in Colorado and do whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted. He basically lived like he was single except for one weekend a month when he’d visit his wife and daughter so they could play like they were a family. He justifies the constant cheating and such because, well, Devon didn’t care. So if she didn’t care, he could do what he wants, right? See, this is a hot button issue for me and probably I can’t look at it rationally. Maybe it isn’t such a big deal that they lived separate lives while married. But, well, I couldn’t get over it. But here’s where I waffle, because I liked him and Adele together. And I didn’t end up hating him or the book because of his past.
I think maybe if he’d shown some remorse for acting the way he did? But then his thoughts on it were just so male, it was hard to be angry with him. At one point he muses that Devon didn’t care what he did, but Adele would. She’d expect him to give mind, body and soul and wouldn’t except anything less. « Hide Spoiler
I just don’t know how to explain my feelings on this aspect of the book. I guess I’ll just say I should have hated Zach but couldn’t, but it will detract from my overall grade.
I did like how he was with his daughter, though. When Devon died he came home and changed everything about his life for her. I really think he was a good father and it was nice to see him in that role.
Like with all Gibson’s novels, it ended rather abruptly, but I was prepared for that and it didn’t bother me.
Overall it was well written, light and fun, but I had some issues with it. I’d recommend reading it, partly because it rounds out the series, and partly because I think it’s one of those books you need to form your own opinion of. I’m conflicted, but for now I’m going to give it a:
4.0 out of 5
That might change once I re-read it.