Take one food writer named Cranky Agnes, add a hitman named Shane, mix them together with a Southern mob wedding, a missing necklace, two annoyed flamingos, and a dog named Rhett and you've got a recipe for a sexy, hilarious novel about the disastrous side of true love...
Agnes Crandall's life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she's staked her entire net worth on. Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window. His name is Shane, no last name, just Shane, and he has his own problems: he's got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking him to protect some little kid named Agnes. When he finds out that Agnes isn't so little, his uncle has forgotten to mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes's house, and his last hit was a miss, Shane's life isn't looking so good, either. Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hit men show up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with intent to throw more than rice. Agnes and Shane have their hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and--most dangerous of all--each other. Agnes and the Hitman is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and salty--a novel of delicious proportions.
Crusie and Mayer (Don't Look Down) reunite to pen this mostly successful romantic comedy with a hint of action-adventure. Agnes Crandall is a feisty food writer and cookbook author on her third fiance, Taylor Beaufort. Though their future looks bright, their romance is curdling, partly due to their deal with widowed mob wife Brenda Fortunato (who is selling them her old house) to hold a Fortunato family wedding at their house in exchange for three months of payments. After an armed thug tries to kidnap Agnes's dog, who appeared in the local paper wearing a gaudy necklace that Agnes believes (incorrectly) to be junk, a Fortunato family friend (and mobster) asks hit man Shane to keep an eye on Agnes. (He does more, of course, than keep an eye on her.) Brenda, meanwhile, may be trying to screw Agnes out of the house, and then there's the matter of a body and $5 million possibly hidden in thebasement. Crusie and Mayer have crafted a bubbly novel with enough convenient coincidences, caricatured characters and ridiculous situations to make screenwriters of goofball date movies proud; amusing banter and surprising moments of poignancy keep the mushrooming plot barely in check. (Aug.)
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1 . great read
Posted January 08, 2010 by Deb Theisen , Janesville, WIReally cute story and very quirky/funny. Great romance/suspense. I have read this book a couple of times because it is so adorable! If you like Jennifer Crusie/Linda Howard/Janet Evanovich-you will love this.
St. Martin's Press
August 20, 2007
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie
One fine August evening in South Carolina, Agnes Crandall stirred raspberries and sugar in her heavy nonstick frying pan and defended her fiance to the only man she'd ever trusted.
It wasn't easy.
"Look, Joey, Taylor's not that bad." Agnes cradled the phone between her chin and her shoulder, turned down her CD player, where the Dixie Chicks were doing a fine rendition of "Am I the Only One," and then frowned over the tops of her fogged-up glasses at the raspberries, which were being annoying and uncooperative, much like Taylor lately. "He's a terrific chef." Which is why I'm still with him. "And he's very sweet." When he has the time. "And we've got a great future in this house together." Assuming he ever comes out here again.
Joey snorted his contempt, the sound exploding through the phone. "He shouldn't leave you out there by yourself."
"Hey, Brenda lived out here alone for years, and she did just fine," Agnes said. "I'm as tough as Brenda. I can do that, too." Of course, Brenda sold me the house and beat feet for her yacht in the middle of a marina, but--
"Nah, there's somethin' wrong with a guy who leaves a sweetheart like you alone in a big house like that. You should find somebody else."
"Yeah, like I have the time," Agnes said, and then realized that
wasn't the right answer. "Not that I would. Taylor's a great guy. And anyway, I like being alone." I'm used to it.
"He's a mutt, Agnes," Joey said.
Agnes took off her glasses and turned up the heat under the raspberries, which she knew was courting disaster, but it was late and she was tired of playing nice with fruit. "Come on, Joey. I don't have time for this. I'm behind on my column, I've got--"
"And there's Rhett," Joey said. "How's Rhett?"
"What?" Agnes said, thrown off stride. She stopped stirring her berries, which began to bubble, and looked down at her dog, draped over her feet like a moth-eaten brown overcoat, slobbering on the floor as he slept. "Rhett's fine. Why? What have you heard?"
"He's a fine healthy-lookin' dog," Joey said hastily. "He looked real good in his picture in the paper today." He paused, his voice straining to be casual. "How come old Rhett was wearing that stupid collar in that picture?"
"Collar?" Agnes frowned at the phone. "It was just some junk jewelry--"
The oven timer buzzed, and she said, "Hold on," put down the phone, and took the now madly bubbling berries off the heat. Rhett picked up his head and bayed, and she turned to see what he was upset about.
A guy with a gun stood in the doorway, the bottom half of his face covered with a red bandanna.
"I come for your dog," he said, pointing the gun at Rhett, and Agnes said, "No!" and slung the raspberry pan at the guy, the hot syrup arcing out in front of it like napalm and catching him full in the face.
He screamed as the scalding fruit hit him and then dropped his gun to rip the bandanna away as Agnes stumbled to scoop up the pan and Rhett barreled into him, knocking him down so that he hit the back of his head on the marble counter by the wall and knocked off every cupcake she had cooling there before he collapsed into the doorway.
"Goddamn it," Agnes said breathlessly, standing over him with her pan, her heart pounding.
The guy didn't move, and Rhett began to hoover up cupcakes at the speed of light.
"Agnes?" Joey shouted from the phone on the counter. "What the fuck, Agnes?"
Agnes kicked the gun into the housekeeper's room and peered at the guy, trying to catch her breath. When he didn't move, she backed up to grab the phone off the counter. "Some guy just showed up here with a gun and tried to take Rhett," she told Joey, breathing hard. "But it's okay, I'm not angry." Miserable little rat-faced jerk.
"Where is he?"
"On the floor, across the hall doorway. He knocked himself out. I have to--"
"Get the hell out of there," Joey said, sounding like he was on the move. "Take Rhett with you."
"I can't get out, the guy's lying across the hall door. If I climb over him, he'll come to and grab me. I have to call--"
"Get out the back door--"
"I can't, Doyle's got it blocked with screen and boards. I have to hang up and call nine-one-one."
"No," Joey said, and she heard the screen door to the diner slap shut on his end of the phone. "No cops. I'm comin' over."
"What do you mean, no cops? I--"
The dognapper stirred.
"Wait a minute." Agnes put the phone on the counter and held the frying pan at the ready, hands shaking, as she craned her neck to look closer at the dognapper.
Young, just a teenager. Short. Skinny. Limp, dirty dark hair. Stupid, because if he'd had any brains, he'd have grabbed Rhett when he went out for his nightly pee. And now that he was unconscious, pretty harmless looking. She probably outweighed him by thirty pounds.