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Faking It

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Overview

LOVE AND DECEPTION HAVE A LOT IN COMMON.
Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who run a respectable art gallery-and have for generations. There's Gwen, the matriarch who likes to escape reality, Eve the oldest daughter who has a slight identity problem (she has two), Nadine, the granddaughter who's ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn't leading off a cliff. And lastly, Matilda, the youngest daughter, has inherited the secret locked ...
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Faking It

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Overview

LOVE AND DECEPTION HAVE A LOT IN COMMON.
Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who run a respectable art gallery-and have for generations. There's Gwen, the matriarch who likes to escape reality, Eve the oldest daughter who has a slight identity problem (she has two), Nadine, the granddaughter who's ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn't leading off a cliff. And lastly, Matilda, the youngest daughter, has inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, the secret she's willing to do almost anything to keep, even break into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.

THE RISKS ARE INTOXICATING.
Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who's just been ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that he'll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including break into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.

AND IF YOU'RE REALLY GOOD AT THEM, THEY BOTH PAY OFF.
One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hitman, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the growing realization that they can't turn their backs on the people they were meant to be...or the people they were born to love.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Crusie (Fast Women, etc.) takes readers on another smooth ride in her latest romantic caper. At the wheel this time is fab art forger Matilda Goodnight, whose chance encounter in a closet with cute con man/thief Davy Dempsey leads to madcap mayhem and breathless romance. He's trying to steal back the money he filched from Clea Lewis, ex-girlfriend (and possible husband killer), who had taken it right back. Tilda just wants her last "Scarlet" painting, which Clea has bought to impress Mason Phipps, her rich art-obsessed beau. It's the last of six forgeries Tilda did for Tony, her now deceased gallery-owner dad, and Tilda is determined to preserve her newly squeaky-clean reputation. Confused yet? It gets wackier, because the whole Goodnight clan and supporting cast are as enormously engaging as the loopy plot. There's Tilda's mother, Gwen; her sister, Eve/Louise, a split-personality teacher/diva; her gay ex-brother-in-law, Andrew; and her precocious teenage niece, Nadine. Add a host of shady characters and would-be hitmen, and the breezy plot thickens and puffs up like the light airy doughnuts all Goodnight women are attracted to but eventually forsake for muffins: "Muffins are for the long haul and they always taste good. They don't have that oh-my-God-I-have-to-have-that thing that the doughnuts have going for them, but you still want them the next morning." Finally, defying all odds, Crusie answers the burning questions she poses can liars and thieves fall in love, live happily ever after and stay out of jail? while confirming the dangers of dating doughnuts. (Aug. 19) Forecast: The paperback edition of Fast Women hit the New York Times bestseller list a week after publication look for Faking It to move just as fast on the hardcover side. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternate.
Library Journal
First introduced in Welcome to Temptation, the brother of wacky filmmaker sisters Sophie and Amy Dempsey gets his own story with hilarious and entertaining results. Davy Dempsey is a man on a mission: to recover some money owed him. In a hilarious botched burglary, he ends up stuck in a closet with Matilda Goodnight. She's at the same house attempting to steal back a painting that was not only never paid for but already has a shady past. Later, Davy rents a room from Matilda's mother, and soon he and Matilda are working together to recover their property and trying mighty hard to resist their growing attraction to each other. It doesn't take much for readers to figure out that Davy and Matilda are fated to live happily ever after. What makes the novel work is Crusie's talent for writing wacky romantic plots that shine with generous amounts of humor and enormous good cheer. Her usual assortment of secondary characters is here, along with a couple of loose ends that might give fans a chance to revisit this clan of entertaining souls once again. Fans of Crusie won't be disappointed in her newest work, which is an essential purchase for any public library with romance readers. - Margaret Hanes, Sterling Heights P.L., MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A raunchy, romantic comedy about art forgery, thievery, and all manner of con-artistry that's as hard to resist as one of Davy Dempsey's cons. Davy, whose older sister Sophie starred in Crusie's last outing (Welcome to Temptation, 2000), comes from a long line of scam artists. He arrives in Columbus, Ohio, to steal back his own money from ex-girl friend Clea, a charmer whose wealthy husbands tend to die under suspicious circumstances. Davy's plan is to go straight once he has the money, but old habits die hard. Born into a family of art swindlers, Tilda Goodnight is now a respectable painter of residential masterpiece murals (Botticelli in the bathroom). She's desperate to "retrieve" a painting her niece has mistakenly sold to Clea that could expose Tilda's larcenous teenage career, when she painted under the name Scarlet Hodge, the imaginary daughter of the respected primitive Homer Hodge. Davy and Tilda meet in Clea's closet while attempting their separate burglaries. Soon Davy has rented a room at the Goodnight Gallery and met Tilda's lovely, unhappy mother Gwen, her angelic sister Eve, Eve's gay ex-husband and troubled adolescent daughter, not to mention Eve's lascivious alter ego Louise. The Goodnights are a family of eccentric delights, and Crusie avoids the pitfall of portraying them as too impossibly cute or sweet: the sense of real human frailty in all her characters makes even the villains oddly endearing. As Davy helps Tilda retrieve the rest of the Scarlets, the two play a game of sexual cat and mouse that culminates in some very hot sex. Meanwhile, Gwen, who has a secret of her own, is courted both by the art patron Clea has marked as her next fiancé and by the Goodnights'mysterious new Gallery boarder, whom they suspect Clea has hired as a hit man to kill Davy in this roller-coaster ride of double identities, scams, and misinformation, none meant to be taken too seriously. Perfect escapist fare: Who knew Ohio could be so much fun?
From the Publisher

Praise For New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Crusie And Her Novels

"Move over, Susan Isaacs."-Kirkus Reviews

"Crusie charms with her brisk, edgy style."-Publishers Weekly

FAKING IT
"Few popular writers handle light romantic comedy as deftly as Jennifer Crusie...A funny, fast-moving, densely-plotted comedy/caper. Crusie clearly has studied vintage screwball film comedies. Faking It is an unabashed homage to such classics as The Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday. The dialogue, which is peppered with movie references, is arch and smart-alecky, and moves the story at a rattling pace."-Boston Globe

"The action is fast, the characters are quirky and the one-liners never stop...fast-paced and sexy...should solidify Crusie's place in the big leagues of women's fiction."-The Columbus Dispatch

"A smart, sexy story of intrigue, seduction, blackmail, and art forgery that will have readers laughing out loud and racing through its pages."-Sullivan County Democrat

"Delightful...could be likened to skinny-dipping in a cool pond on a muggy, hot summer afternoon: Risque, yes-maybe even a little kinky-but, oh, so refreshing."-Roanoke Times

"One of the brightest stars in romantic comedy delivers her sequel, to the very popular Welcome to Temptation."-DallasNews.com

"A hoot. Oh, go ahead. Indulge."-Entertainment Weekly

"Crusie's madcap tale of stolen art and mayhem contains more laugh-out-loud lusty living than a sudsy-bubble Oktoberfest."-Bookpage

"Crusie's talent [is] for writing wacky romantic plots that shine with generous amounts of humor and enormous good cheer."-Library Journal

"This laugh-out-loud romp is one to treasure! Nobody combines wit, irony, and sexy, sizzling plots better than Jennifer Crusie."-Romantic Times

"This sassy novel is hilarious!"-Walden Book Report

"Faking It is a hilarious, warm novel with a cast of quirky and wonderful characters that endear while they charm."-Amazon.com

"Cruisie's fifth novel is an entertaining, fast-paced romp with a pleasing love story at its heart."
--Booklist

"These bantering anti-heroes are clearly made for each other, and the way that they get back at their tormentor is as refreshing as a mint julep in the summer heat."-Bookstreet USA

"No one else writes like she does-not Romance, not Women's Fiction, but her own distinct, "bent" view of the world with its Runyonesque characters and arch dialogue...the novel's last 50 pages are simply divine."-TheRomanceReader.com

FAST WOMEN
"Fast Women is bright and fresh...it tells the complete truth about falling in love and the people who do it. Jennifer Crusie has written another wonderfully funny novel."
-Luanne Rice, author of Firefly Beach

"A beach book for your brain...a sexy, intellectual read."-Redbook

"Aglow with the sparks of wit and romance. Move over, Susan Isaacs. Crusie is just as smart and sassy about the things a woman has to do to make love work, and a lot funnier to boot."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A detective agency may be a sure setting for mystery and adventure, but in Crusie's latest, a likable cast of characters also finds sex, love, and empowerment.... The novel's provocative title says too little about this entertaining romantic caper which will satisfy fans and new readers alike."-Publishers Weekly

"Hilarious...Crusie's great gift is her ability to make readers laugh at the inanities of life with her spunky women and strong yet compassionate men: imagine a combination of Nick Charles from The Thin Man and the women of The First Wives Club."-Booklist

"With humor, irony, and a whole lot of wit, Jennifer Crusie straps in her readers and takes them on a memorable ride...a masterful storyteller."-Romantic Times
2
"Fast Women is her best work to date...a spectacular read you will no doubt savor more than once."-newandusedbooks.com

"An extraordinary romantic comedy...fascinating...hilarious situations, strong characters, and a powerful message."-The Belles and Beaux of Romance

"Wise and witty."-theromancereader.com

"Absolutely hilarious...dialogue is witty and fast paced...one of those stories you can read over and over without it getting stale."-Affaire de Coeur

"Perfect entertainment for a lazy summer afternoon."-modemag.com

WELCOME TO TEMPTATION
"Crusie charms with her brisk, edgy style...a romantic comedy that adds luster to the genre, this effervescent tale will please readers."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Bright, funny, sexy, and wise."-Kirkus Reviews

"Crusie blends a combination of likeable characters, gossipy small-town life, and a plot spiced with some steamy sexual situations into a highly entertaining read."-Library Journal

"Funny and inventive, this is sure to please Crusie's enthusiastic fans and attract new converts."-Booklist

"A book you'll want to read again and again and recommend to your friends...a masterpiece of sensationally wicked humor and spicy sex...one bite and you're hooked. If you only buy one [book], let it be this one. It's phenomenal!"-The Belles and Beaux of Romance

"Crusie is a master of characterization...Welcome To Temptation is filled with twists and turns that will give much pleasure to an adoring audience that will demand sequel after sequel."-Affaire de Coeur

"Crazy, funny, and sexy...the host of uniquely unusual characters and the engaging plot will have fans eagerly awaiting this author's next masterpiece."-Rendezvous

"Jennifer Crusie is on her way to becoming the Michael Jordan of the genre."
-Borders.com

"Wickedly delicious."-Contra Costa Times [Walnut Creek, CA]

CRAZY FOR YOU
"A delight! She's certainly the heir to the beach-reading throne."-Los Angeles Times

"Her characters have sharp edges that lend themselves to both comedy and villainy."
-New York Times

"The story comes together with just the right touches of humor and some pretty sexy dialogue. Crusie hasn't yet achieved the name recognition of Sandra Brown or Nora Roberts but this effort proves she is every bit as good. "-Library Journal

"An updated, rollicking version of Peyton Place...Crusie infuses a great deal of humor about human nature into this contemporary romance, deploying as well an engaging cast of characters."-Publishers Weekly

"A sexy, humorous romp with complex relationships and entertaining characters."
-Rendezvous

"Funny and entertaining, Crusie's novel presents a lively cast and an exciting conclusion."-Booklist

"Romance has a new star in Crusie...one of the few in the genre who can make you laugh out loud." -Kirkus Reviews

"Hold onto your seat for an hysterical look at relationships...Crusie has you laughing and crying as these special people struggle to find that elusive something within themselves." -Old Book Barn Gazette

TELL ME LIES
"Jennifer Crusie presents a humorous mixture of romance, mystery, and mayhem. A winner!"-Susan Elizabeth Phillips

"A ferociously funny, sexy read."-Redbook

"Smart, sexy, romantic suspense."-Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Lovers of Susan Isaac mysteries take heart: there's a new author on the block!"
-Woman's Own

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593351090
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 6/10/2004
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer  Crusie
Jennifer Crusie is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of Tell Me Lies, Crazy for You, Welcome to Temptation, Faking It, Fast Women, and Bet Me.

Biography

Don't expect to see Fabio's flowing mane on the cover of any of Jennifer Crusie's romance novels. She completely eschews the tradition of overwrought melodrama and heaving bosoms to toss a comic gauntlet into the romantic arena. Her fun, funny, and frisky books are a refreshing breeze in a genre that could easily grow stale.

Former schoolteacher Jennifer Smith got her Master's degree in Professional Writing and Women's Literature at Wright State University. She wrote her thesis on women's roles in mystery fiction before trying her hand at penning romance novels using her grandmother's family name Crusie. Despite her impressive credentials, she dismisses her debut novel Sizzle as "lousy" even as her fans clamber to gets their hands on this long out-of-print pulp romance. "That damn book is following me around the way early porn films follow actresses," so says Crusie one her web site of Sizzle.

No matter what the author thinks of her first effort, the astounding string of critically lauded bestsellers that followed it have firmly established Crusie as one of the very best writers of contemporary romantic fiction. Much of this is due to her sharp wit and ear for comedic dialogue, humor being an element often sorely missing in romance novels. From the sly private dick tale What the Lady Wants to the frantic Faking It, Crusie's books contain the perfect balance of suspense, snickers, and steamy love scenes.

What's more, the author has raked up a slew of awards, as well as spots on "best romance novels of the year" for Anyone But You, Temptation, Fast Women, and Faking It. Getting Rid of Bradley scored Crusie a RWA Rita award for Best Short Contemporary Fiction, and in 1996, she received a career achievement award for her work in the romantic comedy genre from Romantic Times magazine.

Now, after 13 crowd pleasers and award winners, Crusie is offering up her first-ever collaboration. She teamed up with hard-boiled action writer Bob Mayer (Operation Dragon-Sim) to conjure up Don't Look Down, a wacky escapade that is equal parts comedy, adventure, and playful erotica.

In Don't Look Down, movie director Lucy Armstrong goes toe-to-toe and heart-to-heart with J.T. Wilder, a green beret who serves as an advisor on a movie that is taking an unexpected turn from romantic comedy to blow-‘em-up action flick. Publisher's Weekly has declared the joint-effort "good fun," and Crusie reveals on her website that more fun with Mayer is on the way. The team is currently working on their second novel together Agnes and the Hitman.

As for future solo ventures by Crusie, there's plenty more in store. She not only has another release slotted for 2006 -- a sexy yuletide novella titled Hot Toy, which will appear in St. Martin's Press' Santa Baby anthology -- but she currently has no less than five additional projects on the burner. Among these upcoming releases are a collection of short stories and a book that Crusie is particularly qualified to create: a guide to writing women's fiction.

Good To Know

Crusie and Bob Mayer are making things a little easier for guys who want to check out their new collaborative novel Don't Look Down. All you have to do is remove the cutesy dust jacket to reveal a tough-as-nails camouflage cover design and voila! No one will ever know you're enjoying a romantic comedy.

Crusie is the proud owner of three dogs, one of which is named Lucy. Oddly, the main character of Don't look Down is also named Lucy -- and happens to be a director of dog food commercials. Coincidence?

Crusie has a few nonfiction works to her credit, including introductions in Totally Charmed, a collection of essays about Alyssa Milano's cult TV series, and Anne Rice: A Critical Companion, which the author wrote under her given name of Jennifer Smith.

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    1. Hometown:
      Ohio
    1. Date of Birth:
      1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1973; M.A., Wright State University; Ph.D., Ohio University, 1986

Read an Excerpt

Taking It


By JENNIFER CRUSIE

ST. MARTIN'S PRESS

Copyright © 2002 Jennifer Crusie Smith.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-312-28468-3


Matilda Goodnight stepped back from her latest mural and realized that of all the crimes she'd committed in her thirty-four years, painting the floor-to-ceiling reproduction of van Gogh's sunflowers on Clarissa Donnelly's dining room wall was the one that was going to send her to hell. God might forgive her the Botticelli Venus she'd painted in the bathroom in Iowa, the Uccello battle scene she'd done for the boardroom in New Jersey, even the Bosch orgy she'd painted in the bedroom in Utah, but these giant, glaring sunflowers were going to be His Last Straw. "I gave you a nice talent," He was going to say to her on Judgment Day, "and this is what you did with it."

Tilda felt her lungs tighten and stuck her hand in her pocket to make sure she had her inhaler.

Beside her, Clarissa wrapped her thin little arms around her size two chenille sweater and squinted at the brownish-yellow flowers. "It's just like his, isn't it?"

"Yes," Tilda said with regret and handed her the museum print of the original.

"The flowers look so ... angry," Clarissa said.

"Well." Tilda closed her paint box. "He was nuts."

Clarissa nodded. "I heard about that. The ear."

"Yeah, that got a lot of press." Tilda shrugged off her paint shirt. "So I'll take my completion check—"

"Did you sign it?" Clarissa said. "You need to sign it. I want everybody to know it's a real Matilda Veronica mural."

"I signed it." Tilda pointed the toe of her paint-stained canvas shoe at the bottom where she'd scrawled "Matilda Veronica." "Right there. Now I have to be going—"

"You didn't sign it `van Gogh,' did you?" Clarissa bent down. "Wouldn't that be forgery?"

"Not unless he had a Kentucky mural period we don't know about." Tilda tried to take a deep breath. "So I'll take that check—"

"Write your name bigger," Clarissa said, straightening. "I want everybody to know you painted this. I'm going to keep the magazine right here, too. So they know that it's a real Matilda Veronica—"

Clarissa's enthusiasm for her as a brand name had lost its appeal many days before, so Tilda changed the subject. "Well, Spot was certainly a champ about the whole thing." She nodded at Clarissa's elongated little dog on the theory that people were always pleased when you talked about their animals.

"His tail is almost hiding your name," Clarissa said.

Tilda let her glasses slide down her nose a little and looked over the rims at Spot, quivering at her feet. She'd done some dog face-lifting in the mural since Spot's beady eyes almost met over his long knife-edged nose. She'd softened the gray that streaked his dark, shaggy coat, too, so he didn't look so much like a very small, mutant wolf.

"You have to sign it again," Clarissa said. "Sign it up at the top. Bigger."

"No," Tilda said. "Everyone will see it because they'll be comparing Spot to the painting. People always do that, look at the dog and then look at the painting—"

"No they won't," Clarissa said, triumphant. "He goes back to the pound today."

"You're taking your dog to the pound?" At Tilda's feet, Spot pressed against her, shedding on her jeans.

"He's not my dog," Clarissa said. "You always put dogs in your murals—"

"No I don't," Tilda said.

"—it said so in the magazine, so I had to have one, too, or people wouldn't think it was a real Matilda Veronica, so I went and got the only purebred they had."

"Spot's a purebred?"

"Silver dapple, longhaired dachshund," Clarissa said. "He'll be fine back at the pound. He's used to it. I'm the third person who's adopted him."

Tilda pulled out her inhaler and inhaled.

It made sense when she thought about it. Clarissa was exactly the kind of woman who'd go to Rent-A-Dog and get a designer second for fake warmth in her faux Postimpressionist wall painting. Spot looked up at her now, shaking, almost as pathetic as he was ugly.

I am not going to rescue you, Tilda thought, capping her inhaler. I can't save everybody, I'm asthmatic, and I don't want a dog, especially not one who acts like he snorts coke and looks like he rolls in it.

"Sign it again up here," Clarissa said. "I'll get you a Sharpie."

"No," Tilda said. "I signed it. It's done. And I'll take the completion check now, thank you."

"Well, I don't know, that signature—" Clarissa began, and Tilda pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and turned steely eyes on her. Clarissa nodded. "I'll go get that check, then."

Left alone with Spot—a hell of a name for a dog that had none—Tilda tried to think of something besides the pound. There was the mural, another success, another chunk of money off the family debt, another two weeks painted from her life by ripping off art history—

Her cell phone rang and cut short her stab at optimism. Tilda flipped open the cover. "Hell-o."

"Tilda," her mother said, "we have a problem."

"Really," Tilda said, staring at the sunflowers. "Who'd have guessed?"

"It's bad," Gwen said, and Tilda stopped, taken aback by the seriousness in her mother's voice. Gwennie did muffins and Double-Crostics, not serious.

"Okay, so whatever it is, we'll fix it." She looked down at the dog again, and he gazed back at her, desperation in his eyes. "What is it?"

"Nadine sold a Scarlet."

Tilda jerked her head up as her stomach cramped. In the background on the phone, she heard her sixteen-year-old niece say, "I still don't get what I did wrong," and she went cold all over.

"There aren't any Scarlets." Tilda tried to draw a deep breath while not throwing up. "Dad sold them all."

"Not the first one," Gwen said. "Remember? He couldn't because it was of our building. Nadine found it in the basement. And the woman who bought it won't give it back. I asked."

Clarissa came back with the check and Tilda took it. "Thank you," she said to Clarissa and then spoke into the phone. "Ask again."

"I tried. She hung up on me and I called again and Mason Phipps answered. She's staying with him." Gwen's voice grew slower. "Mason was an old friend of your father's. He's the one who told her about Scarlet and the gallery. And he invited me to dinner tonight."

"Oh, good. One of us will have a hearty meal."

"So I thought I'd go and distract them and you could sneak in and steal it," Gwen said. "And then we can bury it in the basement again."

Tilda turned away from Clarissa and whispered into the phone. "You do realize you don't get muffins in prison?" She tried again for a deep breath, fighting back the nausea. "And when we get it back, we're burning it. If I'd known it was down th—"

"Something wrong?" Clarissa said from behind her.

"No," Tilda said to her. "Everything is peachy." She spoke into the phone. "I'm coming home. I'll be there in four hours. Do not do anything until I get there."

"We never do," Gwen said and hung up.

"I certainly hope everything's okay," Clarissa said, looking avid.

"Everything is always okay," Tilda said bitterly. "That's what I do. I make everything okay." She stuffed the check in her shirt pocket and looked down at Spot, trembling on her foot. "Which is why I'm taking your dog."

"What?" Clarissa said, but Tilda had already scooped Spot up, his long body drooping over her arm while his feet tried for purchase on her hip.

"Just saving you a trip to the pound," Tilda said. "Have a lovely day."

She carted her paint box and the dog out to her beat-up yellow van, simmering with exasperation and another emotion she didn't quite recognize but thought might be fear. It put an acrid taste in her mouth, and she didn't like it. Once on the passenger seat, Spot simmered, too. "Oh, calm down," she said to him, as she put the van in gear. "Anything's better than jail." Spot looked at her strangely. "The pound. I meant the pound." She talked to him all the way home, and by the time she pulled into the fenced lot behind the Goodnight Gallery, Spot was asleep and she was calmer. When she shut off the motor, he jerked awake, his eyes like marbles, and she carried him, now heaving with anxiety, into the shabby gallery office and deposited him on the floor in front of her mother and niece, both of them looking blonde and blue-eyed and cute. So not like me, Tilda thought. Behind them, Gwennie's bubbler jukebox played "No, No, Not Again," by the Three Degrees.

"This is Spot," she said to Gwen and Nadine. "I'm finding him a home where people will treat him with dignity and not sell him down the river while his back is turned."

"Well, I'm sorry," Nadine said, her pretty face defiant under her mop of pale curls. She was wearing a black T-shirt that said BITE ME in Gothic letters, but she still looked like Shirley Temple in a snit. "Nobody told me we couldn't sell paintings. We're an art gallery, for cripe's sake." She crouched down on the worn Oriental rug to pet Spot, who backed away, still heaving, his eyes peeled for a getaway. "What is wrong with this dog?"

"So many things," Tilda said. "About the painting?"

"While you were in Iowa," Gwen said to her, "Nadine broke curfew and Andrew sent her down to clean the basement as a punishment."

Tilda took a deep breath and thought of a few choice things to say to her ex-brother-in-law.

"You can stop looking so mad," Nadine said "Dad didn't let me in the locked part. I still don't know what's in there."

"Storage," Tilda said.

"Right." Nadine rolled her eyes.

"Nadine." Tilda pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and looked down at her, and Nadine swallowed and sat up a little straighter. "You are not in a position to push your luck here. The painting."

"Dad made me clean the back storeroom," Nadine said. "It was full of furniture painted with animals. Dad said you did it when you were my age. It was pretty cool, especially the bed when we'd cleaned it off and set it up—"

"We?" Tilda said.

"Ethan and me," Nadine said. "You didn't think I cleaned that whole place out by myself?"

"So Ethan knows." Tilda consigned Andrew to the lowest circle of hell for criminal stupidity, in sending not only his daughter down there but also her nonfamily best friend.

"Well, he knows there's furniture down there, yeah," Nadine said. "What is it with you and the basement? It's furniture."

"Right." Tilda realized her lungs were closing up again and got her inhaler out. "Are we close to the painting yet?"

"It was in there," Nadine said. "It was wrapped in paper and stuck in a cabinet, the one with the turquoise monkeys on it. Did you really paint all those animals?"

"It's junk. I was going through a phase." Tilda hit the inhaler. "So you pulled the painting out and then what?"

"We thought it was good," Nadine said.

"So you sold it," Tilda said.

"No. We put it back in the cabinet and put dustsheets on everything and went to Cup O' Joe's. And then today, Grandma had to go to the bank, and this Mrs. Lewis came in and asked if we had any paintings by somebody named Scarlet, and I said no, all we had was Dorcas Finsters." Nadine turned to Gwen. "Are we ever going to get rid of those? I know she lives here, but they're really depressing, and I think we could—"

"Nadine," Tilda said.

"Okay." Nadine crossed her arms. "And Mrs. Lewis said no, she wanted paintings that looked like a kid had painted them, and she started talking about checkerboard skies and stars, and Ethan was here and he said, `That's like the one we found in your basement,' and she would not leave until we showed it to her."

"Ethan said that," Tilda said.

"Or maybe me." Nadine squinted at the ceiling. "I'm not sure. Ask Ethan."

"Like Ethan wouldn't lie down on burning coals for you," Tilda said. "So you went and got the painting ..."

"And she offered me a hundred dollars for it and I said no," Nadine said virtuously.

"And yet, the painting is not here," Tilda said.

"She kept offering and I kept saying no and when she got to a thousand I caved," Nadine said. "Now will somebody tell me why that was bad?"

"No." Gwen sank down on the couch next to her granddaughter, looking much like Nadine was going to look in forty years, pale-eyed, graying, and gamine.

"Where's your mom?" Tilda asked Nadine. She turned to Gwen. "Why wasn't Eve watching the gallery?"

"She had a teacher's meeting," Gwen said. "Summer school. She's aiding again. Look, this Lewis woman is not going to return it. And the more fuss we make, the more suspicious we look."

"Suspicious about what?" Nadine said. "Nobody tells me anything." She reached down and scooped Spot off the faded rug, and his tremors picked up again. "If you don't tell me stuff, you can't blame me when I screw up."

She stuck her chin out at Tilda, defiant as she patted the dog, and Tilda thought, She's right. She pulled out the ancient desk chair so it was facing Nadine and sat down, wincing as it creaked. "Okay, here it is."

"No," Gwen said. "She's sixteen."

"Yeah, and how old was I?" Tilda said. "I can't remember a time I didn't know."

"Hello?" Nadine waved. "I'm right here. Know what?"

"Do you remember how successful the gallery used to be, when Grandpa ran it?" Tilda said.

"No," Nadine said. "I was a kid when he died. I wasn't really into the gallery thing then." She relaxed her hold on Spot, who struggled out of her lap, hit the rug with a splat, and recovered by putting his paws up on Tilda.

"Well, one of the reasons we were successful was that Grandpa sometimes sold fakes," Tilda said flatly.

"Oh," Nadine said.

"That's good," Gwen said, her hands gripped together in her lap. "The more people who know that the better."

"I won't tell," Nadine said.

"Some of the paintings that were real were by a man named Homer Hodge," Tilda plowed on, "and Grandpa made a lot of money off him legally. But then he and Homer had a fight, and Homer stopped sending him paintings, so your grandpa got the bright idea of inventing a daughter for Homer named Scarlet, and he sold five paintings by her, making a big deal out of the fact that she was a Hodge."

Gwen slumped back against the couch and stared at the ceiling, shaking her head.

"Invented a daughter?" Nadine said. "Cool."

"No, not cool." Tilda picked up Spot, needing something to hold on to for the next part, and Spot sighed and curled his long, furry body to fit her lap. "The painting you sold was the first Scarlet, a fake painting by a fake artist. And that's fraud and we could go to jail. And people are going to realize it's a fake because Homer was from a farm in southern Ohio, and the painting you sold is of this building."

"I thought it looked familiar," Nadine said.

"So once they figure out that one's a fake, they're going to come back to the gallery and ask questions." Tilda felt her stomach twist again. "They might look at all the paintings Grandpa sold them for thousands of dollars and find out that some of them are fakes, and they're going to want their money back, and we don't have it. And we could go to jail for that, too, and lose the gallery and this whole building which means we'd all be out on the street."

"Wait a minute," Nadine said, perking up, evidently undeterred by the news her grandpa was a crook and she might soon be living in the gutter. "I didn't know it was a fake. The only person who knew it was a fake was Grandpa. So we're off the hook. We can blame him. He's dead!"

"That's been pretty much my plan for the past five years," Gwen said, still staring at the ceiling.

"Nice try, but no," Tilda said, feeling sicker. "The gallery as a business is still liable. And there's one other person who knew and could go to jail. The person who painted them."

"Oh." Nadine grew still. "Who painted them?"

"I did, of course," Tilda said, and got out her inhaler again.

IT HAD taken Davy Dempsey four days to track his ex-financial adviser from Miami, Florida, to Columbus, Ohio, and now he leaned in the doorway of a little diner and watched his prey pick up his water glass, survey the rim, and then wipe it with his napkin. Ronald Abbott, aka Rabbit, was born to be the perfect mark: pale, semichinless, and so smug about his superiority in all things having to do with money, art, and life in general that he was a sure thing to con. Which made it doubly annoying that he had taken all of Davy's money.

Davy crossed the diner and slid into the booth, and Ronald looked up in mid-sip and then inhaled his water in one horrified gasp.

"Hello, Rabbit," Davy said, enjoying the gargle. "Where the hell is my three million dollars?"

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Taking It by JENNIFER CRUSIE. Copyright © 2002 by Jennifer Crusie Smith. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Rating Distribution

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(83)

4 Star

(52)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    My absolute favorite Cruisie novel

    The characters are wacky and flawed. I want to rent a room down the hall and join in the fun.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2011

    Cute and funny

    Loved the characters, they were hilarious and well developed- not the "too perfect" characters that are found in some romance novels. The plot was good too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2011

    Quirky, fun

    I think this book is more humorous than it is romantic. I enjoyed reading about all the characters. There's no sexual tension that built up like other romance stories; it was a nice change to see the first time Tilda and Davey got together didn't end in fireworks. The mystery was fun to figure out. It was a fun read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Great characters / quick dialogue / lots of interesting situations

    Loved it. I was so happy when I recognized the character Davy from Crusie's book "Welcome to Temptation." I recommend reading the Temptation book first. Both are fantastic. Couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Krinjh

    Rosary..

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2011

    good....but a few problems

    this was. good book. nice story. good ending. but i kept getting hung up on the many awful spelling mistakes and gibberish. whoever put this book into nookbook format screwed up alot. stuff like 'kiUed' and 'itdhjnight' are very common throughout the book. only reason it gets 3 star and not 4 stars. wish i could get my money back because of all the spellig errors. but oh well. im a perfectionist. so those things bother me a lot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    Better Than Watching Paint Dry

    The Goodnights have a tradition of dealing forged art. The Dempseys have a tradition of forging bad deals. Put them together, and you get a string of misadventures both families would be proud to claim. Enter Tilda Goodnight, a muralist who brings classic art to Ohio bathrooms. Tilda has a secret, and she'll do what she must to keep it, even if that means breaking into someone's home. When she literally runs into Davy Dempsey during her amateur B & E, she finds an unexpected ally, and more. Together, they search for remnants of Tilda's checkered past and money someone owes Davy. Not much stands in their way just a former lover, a crooked accountant, the FBI, and a hit man. All in a day's con. Criminal activities aside, 'Faking It' is a fun romp with a dysfunctionally loving family and the friends that get pulled into it. The writing features Crusie's trademark wittiness throughout. The characters showed promise, but ultimately, Tilda was a bit of a letdown. Other characters stole scenes that should have belonged to her, as the female lead. Tilda had a martyr complex that created reader sympathy at the beginning, but it wore old by the middle. Fortunately, she pulled out of it for a satisfying end. Davy remained a fun character, even if his motives weren't always in keeping with his goals. Although this wasn't one of Crusie's best efforts, the quality and fun nature of 'Faking It' are reflective of her talent and wit. If you enjoy an offbeat cast with some light-hearted crime and romance, you'll enjoy 'Faking It.' -C.W.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Wonderful read.

    The characters are vivid. They stand right up from the story and grab you from page one. I enjoyed reading the Goodnights and co. Battle through the quirky plotlines. Uproarously funny and unexpetedly honest i would recommnd this to anyone!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Loved it

    One of my favorite books that i have read many times. I would love to see this as a movie, I can picture the actors I would choose to play the parts. But maybe not, books are always better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Loved it!!  One of Cruisie's best.  Her characters are wacky and

    Loved it!!  One of Cruisie's best.  Her characters are wacky and fun and the kind of people you'd love to be friends with!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Awesome!

    This was the first book of hers that I read and I just loved it. It is so funny you almost forget about the romance, almost. Because of this book is whyI began reading Janet Evanovich, the characters are awesome and the plot is also well thought out. Love it!! Super funny!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Slaveshine

    Its hard but im used to it.. soo many questions.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    MY FAV

    If you havent read this one you are in for a treat - so long as you love marvelous characters, witty dialogue, some of rhe best erotic scenes written and,well, true love

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Great book

    Laughed so much totally love this crazy family.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Anonymous

    Not my favorite by her. Still trying to read it but not enjoying it. Just seems jumbled and like it was written too quickly. Bummer! On page 92 now. Maybe it will get better?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Great Book!

    It took me a bit to actually get into this book as it was kind of confusing, but after the first chapter or so I was hooked. I love Jennifer Crusie's humor and her style of writing. Defiantely look forward to reading more from her! Highly recommend!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    1/17/12

    Not as much fun as BET ME.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 21, 2011

    How funny

    Really the characters are so over the top, but come across as the people you meet everyday. WONDERFUL

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Wonderfully funny

    This is one book I've read more than once. It's fun, funny, with quirky characters that you love from the very beginning with their fast and snappy dialogue. It's just fun and interesting all the way through!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It was okay.

    The book was good, but it took me a while to get through it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews

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