Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Booby Trap by Anne Browning Walker

       A fellow reviewer brought my attention to The Booby Trap and I was quite excited to read it.  I liked the idea of research, waitressing, and some fun romance.  The story started off well and my excitement about the possibilities of the book built.  However, the book did not live up to my expectations.
Harvard Ph.D student Bambi is working at The Booby Trap for research purposes for her dissertation and to help pay rent.  She dreams of going to the Annual Women's Studies Conference in London, England.  
Enter Trip Whitley of Belles and Beaux Dating Service - a family owned and operated business.  At a business meeting to ramp up advertising, the PR firm suggests that Trip needs to be seen dating one woman for an extended amount of time to highlight the match making abilities of the company.  Trip's dad threatens that Trip's role at the company will diminish if Trip doesn't agree to the scheme and show up for an ice skating date on Saturday.  I found this situation a bit hard to believe, but I suspended disbelief and soldiered on.
Despite his anger at being forced into a monogamous relationship, Trip and his best friend Pat visit the Booby Trap for Pat's bachelor party.   Bambi is Trip's waitress and he assumes she is a dingbat and decides to drive his dad and the PR firm crazy by hiring Bambi to be his pretend girlfriend.  How better to get revenge that to be seen dating a hot bimbo?  Trip waits outside for Bambi and presents his idea.  She initially says no, but then realizes the money is exactly what she needs to attend the Women's Conference.  She also decides to use their time together to teach him a lesson about making assumptions about women.  I found it hard to believe that a Ph.D student would have time to worry about teaching a rude man a lesson over a 9 month period (the agreed-upon dating period) and be willing to spend her precious time with a man she can't stand.  
A camera crew follow Trip and Bambi on each of their dates and Bambi feels the requisite "tingle" when Trip touches her calf to help put on her skates on their first date.  On the second date, Bambi meets Trip's judgmental parents and then we meet Trip's long lost love - Madison.  Drama ensues from parental involvement and a misunderstanding/scheme by Madison.  Despite a few other issues, Trip and Bambi end up together for a HAE ending.
I so wanted to like this novel and believe the characters.  But, I didn't.  I don't see real chemistry between Trip and Bambi.  I'm not a fan of the "buy a date" trope, so that does color my reading. 

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