IF LIZ CAN'T FIND "THE ONE"
SHE'LL TAKE THE MILLION.
Liz Pemberley is a smart girl with a weakness for bad boys, but for the first time in her life, her bad luck with men might just pay off. A hot new reality TV show called Bad Date is offering a million dollars to the singleton with the best story of romance gone awry. There's no one with a more dismal dating history than Liz and she intends to prove it . . . on national television.
Once she gets on the show, the unimaginable happens-she meets a really nice guy. And not only is Jack Rafferty nice, he's also, sexy, sweet, and ready to settle down. But as contestants on Bad Date, they've signed a contract that makes fraternizing with each other a major no-no. What's a girl to do? Of course she wants to win the prize money, but Jack is too good to resist. With her fate on the show hanging in the balance, Liz will risk it all for the one thing she has always wanted-the perfect man!
Carroll (Miss Match) offers a tongue-in-cheek look at one of television's hottest trends in this comic contemporary romance. Frustrated with her job and burnt out on dating, Manhattan copywriter Liz Pemberley figures she might as well sign up for "Bad Date," a live reality game-show, and profit from her many misadventures with men. Her two lovelorn roommates follow suit, and miraculously, all three make it onto the show. The object: to relay your worst dating experiences and be the last one standing after the participants with the least objectionable stories have been voted off. The prize: one million dollars. Liz's witty and at times caustic remarks add spice to the show and the narrative, but her relationship with Miami restaurateur and co-contestant Jack Rafferty is the novel's true source of heat. Despite the couple's instant attraction, a no-fraternization clause in their TV contract holds them apart for a while, but there's never any question that they're destined to break the rules. Carroll strains the book's credibility by having Liz's roommates find love and lifelong happiness during the show as well, and the story's sheer number of coincidences will cause many to cringe (how likely is it that a New Yorker and an out-of-towner will run into each other in Manhattan?). Still, this cheery caper will strike a chord with readers who have had plenty of dating dilemmas.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Reality Check by Leslie Carroll
Are you perennially single? Do you want to make $1,000,000.00? Have your dating experiences been "doozies"?
You could be a contestant on
The new reality-based TV game show coming to you this fall from the people who brought you last season's hit series Surviving Temptation.
14 lucky contestants'll share harrowing tales of their hard-luck laps on the dating circuit. Our studio audience will vote on who has the worst date of the week. If you're the solo single standing at the end of the season, YOU WIN ONE MILLION DOLLARS Plus an all-expense-paid trip for two to romantic Paris, the City of Lights.
Auditions March 15 in NYC, Chicago, and LA Phone 1-800-Bad-Date for audition information. I was the first one to see the ad. It must have been a karma thing, as my roommate Nell would say, because I never read the New York Post. I'm a Times kind of gal, and these days I read even that on the Internet. Jem, my other roommate, buys the Post for the horoscopes. You would think a professor of communications at a local community college, a grown woman with a Ph.D. on her wall and three pairs of Manolo Blahniks (bought retail) in her closet would have more sophisticated journalistic tastes. Not Jem. I know for a fact, though, she reads more than the horoscopes. She reads all four of the tabloid's gossip columns, too.
I'm a sharer, so I thought it would be unfair to my other apartment mates to leave a gaping gash in the newsprint and smuggle the ad into my room. Besides, it wasn't like I was the only "perennially single" woman in the country, let alone in the city, to see it. I was convinced, however, deep down in that unknowable way, that the jackpot was mine, though in the great collective unconscious, that was probably the thought shared by every unmarried person in the contiguous forty-eight states within a three-thousand-mile radius of either coast.
"C'mon you guys, let's audition! I think we're all photogenic enough to be on the show," Nell said. I thought that was mighty charitable of her since Nell is perfect. She even has a perfect-sounding name, Anella Avignon. Nell has the naturally straight honey blonde hair that every movie star on all those awards shows pays a fortune to replicate. She's got a metabolism like a tiger shark and never needs to exercise. She's also got a trust fund. Nell is drop-dead gorgeous and does absolutely nothing all day, but since she pays the rent on time, I can't complain. She could easily afford her own apartment but she says she gets lonely and has a horror of ending up like a modern day Miss Havisham, wandering aimlessly for decades around a warren of overdecorated rooms, so she prefers the company of roommates. Nell is also one of the most generous women on the planet. Witness her complimentary remark about all three of us vis-�-vis this Bad Date show. Nell is perfect. A perfect blonde goddess. This morning I started to face it--I've got Venus envy.
"Nell, you don't need the million dollars. Why would you humiliate yourself on national television?" Jem asked her.
"Well," Nell said thoughtfully, gazing into the middle distance, "it's something to do. Besides, Daddy's fed up with giving me something for nothing."
Jem and I gasped in tandem. "What?!"
"Since I've got to eat and pay rent, it means I may actually have to get a job," Nell said sadly. "So if I win the million dollars then I can afford to do nothing. And still give half the money to charity if I want to." Nell got that "epiphany" look in her blue eyes. "That's what I would do. I'd throw charity balls with it. Dress up in an evening gown, meet rich, great-looking guys, and give a bunch of dough to the Fresh Air Fund or something. I could do that. I'm good at throwing parties."
See, this is why I can't hate Nell. She really is such a generous soul despite the fact that she mentioned the chance to dress to the nines as her primary motivation for giving to charity. "I've never quite understood how you can do nothing all day and not get bored," I said.
"Well, I do nothing now," Nell insisted. "It's only until I find something I really like to do. I'd rather do nothing than something I don't like." She added, looking straight at me, "I don't know how you can do that, Liz."
"Because some of us don't have daddies who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies," I sighed. "And because people actually pay me money to write. Even though half the time these days I have zero belief in the product I'm writing the copy for . . . which makes it a tad hard to promote. And occasionally makes the client a little testy."
"Yeah, well, I can see that," Nell said helpfully.
I used to get a thrill out of coming up with an ad campaign from scratch, writing clever copy that would hook the consumer. Lately, though, I'd been getting my creative kicks by writing a parody of a Regency-era novel called The Rake and the 'Ho.