Get Bunny Love
My daughter loves the cover of this book. It shows a cute little dog clutching a fuzzy red slipper in his teeth, leaving a trail of dirty pawprints behind him. And actually, this image sums up the book’s heroine perfectly: cute, charming, filled with good intentions and yearning to help others, but somehow unable to avoid a disaster or two along the way.
Nate McNulty is the CEO of McNulty Events, an event planning firm started by his father and uncle. His Aunt Martha, though, has announced her decision to sell the firm unless Nate can land a big account: the Worthington Cup, a prestigious dog show. Kitty Worthington, the show’s patron, has fired her first event planner, who happens to be Nate’s main rival, in a fit of pique over purple draperies. Keen to secure the Cup, for the high profile publicity and referrals as well as to keep Aunt Martha from selling the business, Nate assures Kitty he can plan the dog show to perfection, even though it’s taking place in only five weeks.
Beatrice “Bunny” Love needs a job, and she intends to get one at McNulty Events. Her apartment building is going condo, and Bunny needs to get a mortgage. Her freelance graphic design work isn’t enough, so when Nate says he really needs an event planner, she assures him she can learn. Nate desperately needs someone now for the Worthington Cup, and Bunny seems to have potential, so he hires her. He’s also wildly attracted to her from first sight, but tells himself he must ignore it because a) Bunny is his employee, and b) Nate already has a girlfriend.
I loved Bunny at the beginning. She’s a freelance free spirit, used to working at home in her bunny slippers and sweats, but to get her mortgage, she puts on a suit and heels and reminds herself how much she needs this job. The McNulty offices are typical gray cubicles, which really represses Bunny’s chi. Everything is lined up and neat, violating every tenet of feng shui, but Bunny buckles down and tries to persevere, learning a new job from her seriously hot new boss and trying to project a confidence in event planning she doesn’t have or feel. I need this job is her mantra.
But before long Bunny’s cosmic energy took over. She rearranges Nate’s office and paints his conference room without his knowledge, let alone his consent. Nate doesn’t appreciate it, especially when he trips over the out-of-place coffee table and throws out his back. Nor does he enjoy being rushed to the hospital in anaphylactic shock after she goads him into drinking some of her herbal tea. To be fair, Bunny is egged on by Bert, McNulty’s VP, who claims it will be good for Nate to loosen up. Yup, Bert is the Matchmaking Friend in this novel. Bunny’s persistent efforts to free Nate’s life force are in direct contrast to her own reaction when someone tries to “improve” her life. Bunny’s mother comes to visit, and paints her apartment white and organizes the cupboards by color. Bunny is miserable: leave my stuff alone, Mom! I really wanted Nate to tell Bunny to leave his chi (not to mention his furniture) alone. Do unto others, and all that.
Nate was more elusive, alternately exasperated and entranced by Bunny. He’s almost engaged to his socialite girlfriend Melanie, although other than Aunt Martha, there’s nothing really pulling them together. Nate is a CEO, but he’s under Aunt Martha’s thumb; to please her, and thereby keep his firm, he has to please Kitty Worthington, who is a little flaky. Being yanked here and there by two demanding women takes the starch out of Nate’s spine in a big way. He’s like a beta hero forced to play an alpha role: a nice guy, but not a dominant character.
Aunt Martha’s drive to sell McNulty Events was a little strange as well. She thinks the firm is risky, so she wants to sell it and see Nate go into insurance instead. Why not try to help, and use her society connections to drum up business for McNulty and make it prosper? The background story is that she raised Nate and his brother after the sudden death of their parents, and worries about them meeting the same fate. I could understand if Nate led tours of Mt. Everest, but event planning? Is she worried the toy poodles will maul Nate or something?
I read this book during the Superbowl, at first quite avidly and then only between plays (well, the game got more exciting as the book got wackier). There’s a lot to like about this book; it’s well-written and the characters are likable, if occasionally zany. I would have preferred a little less chi from Bunny and a little more backbone from Nate, but it’s a good solid debut all the same. Fans of romantic comedy should definitely keep on eye on this author.