There is a fine line between funny and not funny, and that line is different for everyone – that’s what makes humorous romances so risky. Luckily for me, Frisky Business had that near perfect combination of physical comedy, sexual tension, and ridiculous euphemisms that I was hoping for.
Marley Cartman has a new dating plan – no more rich men. Between her father, her ex-fiance, and those she has to work with, she’s had enough. Instead, Marley will chase after the blue-collar workers of the world. It seems to be working pretty well when she meets Will, a volunteer at the Cascade Humane Society. With his ragged shorts and slippers instead of shoes (apparently the duct tape was coming off), he seems like exactly the kind of guy she thinks she should date.
Unfortunately for Marley, Will turns out to be William Barclay the Fifth, wealthy investor and Chairman of the Board at her new post as director of development, in charge of donor relations and financial management at the Cascade Historical Society and Wildlife Sanctuary (affectionately known as Cheez Whiz). And on top of him being too rich to date, the Board has a rule about dating board members (apparently the last development director ran off with a Board member, after helping cover a rather significant amount of embezzling.)
The chemistry between Marley and Will, however, simply cannot be denied. No matter how many times they tell each other no, back into each other’s arms they fall. Which would be fine if Marley could simply abandon her dating plan and focus on what she actually wants, and if Will’s romantic past hadn’t left some serious (though understandable) trust issues.
I have to admit, the chemistry is definitely there. As Marley and Will stumble through their twists and turns, the air practically sizzles. The constant sexual humor, which both of them use to try and diffuse awkward moments, ramps it up even higher. Their near-constant attempts at lovemaking are regularly interrupted by outside forces – her real estate agent, a security guard, her father – and the strain both pushes them together and pulls them apart. It’s actually pretty fascinating.
And for once, it wasn’t the heroine I wanted to smack for her issues, but the hero! It’s common in romance novels to have that (near) perfect hero – otherwise, how can he be that ideal, dream, romantic man? – but Will’s fatal flaw is his trust issues. There’s not really anything that his sister, his ex, or Marley can help him with, it’s something he has to figure out on his own. And it’s rough. I can totally appreciate that it would be hard to trust another woman romantically when your ex-wife was playing (and I quote) “kiss-the-bunny-on-the-nose” with your sister before the divorce (and the book is chock-full of euphemisms like that one).
Marley, on the other hand, knows that she has issues, and that there are secrets she needs to keep, but faces that head on. While her insistence on dating “regular guys” is frustrating, she is definitely a very relatable character. And I think I’d enjoy being friends with someone who has no problems quipping their way through uncomfortable conversations.
Unfortunately, Marley’s dating regimen reads more like a bad chick-flick, with each encounter going horribly wrong in at least one way per date. It’s heavy handed, and really unnecessary for the overall plot (though if you enjoy a comedy of errors, you’d probably get a kick out of it.) And overall, there was just so much going on that when we got to the wrap-up section of the book, it was like putting all your little ducks in a row – it was almost…too neat. No loose ends, no questions, just poof, solved. I don’t know, it just went by too quickly for me.
Overall, though, I found Frisky Business really entertaining, and I enjoyed it. The humor keeps everything lively, and while it is a bit over the top, it worked for the story as a whole. Definitely a fun read.