BOOK, Reviews, Excerpt

WLVH: Where Love is Found and PICKUP LINESLasts Forever!

Pickup Lines
by Holly Jacobs

Avalon Books
ISBN #0-8034-9704-0
April 2005

Rereleased by Thorndike, 2/11
large print/hardback

Mary Rosenthal loves her a quiet, normal life. She dates nice, normal men...although she's yet to find one that she'd consider spending the rest of her life with. She has a meaningful satisfying job that she wouldn't trade in for anything. Even though the satisfaction level of her job is high, the financial level isn't. That less-than lucrative financial part of her job is why she finds herself doing something foreign to her nature...something highly less-than-normal. When her aging car dies, she finds herself competing in a contest to win a new one...competing by living in a truck. She and her opponent are in a radio sponsored battle of the sexes. The last one in the truck wins it. She's got a good supply of books, comfortable truck-clothes and a ton of determination. She's planned for everything...except the good looking man she's competing against. He's nothing like the normal guys she normally dates, and though she knows he's not a keeper, that doesn't stop her from admiring the view.

Ethan Westbrook doesn't need, nor does he want the truck. He loves his single life. Good friends, a good job and living in a truck doesn't factor into his summer plans. He dates often...dates many women. He's not ready to settle down. Yes, he's living life on his terms. But he does want to see his family's small chain of drugstores flourish, so he's guilted into using the contest as a marketing ploy. The woman he's competing against isn't the type he'd normally look twice at, but there's something about Mary that has him looking a lot. He's sure she'll soon decide to give up and once he's out of the truck he'll be over this odd infatuation. But she's surprisingly stubborn. Not only doesn't she change her mind, she starts to change his. Suddenly the single-life he loves so much starts to look lonely. And Ethan finds himself drawn to Mary.

Mary and Ethan climb into the truck sure they'll climb back out and right back into their single, totally contented lives. But neither planned on what they'd find in the pick-up. Maybe it's not winning the contest...maybe it's love?

BOOK, Reviews, Excerpt



"As the author of Lost and Found (2004) and The 100-year Itch (2003), Jacobs is a veteran of the romantic-comedy genre, and her newest tale is sure to amuse". - Shelley Mosley, Booklist, April 1, 2005.

"...a marvelously funny story that is a joy to read." ~Lydia Funneman, Writer's Unlimited

"Holly Jacobs brings her own brand of comedy to a story about that latest craze… reality games, in Pickup Lines." Kelley A. Hartsell, LoveRomances.com 4 1/2 stars

"I found PICK UP LINES to be thoroughly enjoyable and easily read in one sitting. The final outcome is kept secret until the final pages, but I was rooting for Mary as she seemed to need the truck more than Ethan." ~Roundtable Reviews 

"I absolutely love this unique plot that author Holly Jacobs has created in PICKUP LINES. You might think the setting of inside a pickup truck would get dull, but Ms. Jacobs is sensational in keeping her readers entertained and delighted at this fast-paced love story. The hero and heroine are charming, witty and capable of making any reader fall in love with them and their great escapade! Don’t miss out on this feel good and fun novel from Avalon Romance! Holly Jacobs has definitely written a keeper!" ~BJ Deese, CataRomance Reviews

BOOK, Reviews, Excerpt


Pickup Lines
by Holly Jacobs
Avalon Books
ISBN #0-8034-9704-0
April 2005


"This is WLVH, Lovehandles, where love is more than just a song. Today we're proud to announce another male contestant for our Pickup Lines Contest. Ethan Westbrook. Ethan, you have one hour to call the station to qualify as a finalist."

Puzzled, Ethan Westbrook looked up from the computer and glanced at the radio. Had that disc jockey just said his name? He shook his head. He hadn't entered any contest. Either he'd heard wrong or there was some other Ethan Westbrook in Erie.

Small world.

He went back to punching information into the computer until the phone rang. He grabbed the receiver. "Westbrook Pharmacy." "Ethan. Did you hear? Did you call?" his friend Barney shouted into his ear.

"Call who and hear what?"

"Your name on Lovehandles. You're in the hat for the male contestant if you call in the next hour. So call."

"What contest? I heard my name on the radio, but I didn't hear why."

Barney was a good friend and a co-worker, but succinct wasn't a word that anyone who knew him would use to describe him. "Al's Auto and Lovehandles radio station are sponsoring a contest. Two people, a man and a woman, a battle of the sexes sort of thing. Don't you pay attention to anything?"

"What do they have to do?"

"They have to live in a truck–-I think they said it was a Chevy, if that matters. Whoever holds out the longest, wins it."

Ethan laughed. "I don't need a truck. My BMW is just fine, thank you."

He wasn't rich, but he was financially comfortable. Comfortable enough not to need to live in a truck for an extended period of time. It sounded like the sort of contest that would appeal to the very young or the very desperate.

Ethan Westbrook was neither.

"Thanks for letting me know though."

"You're not going to do it? You're not even going to try for the final?" Barney sounded incredulous.

"No I'm not, but thanks for the call." Ethan hung up before Barney could continue to try and talk him into living in a truck. Some of the stupidest moments in Ethan's life had happened because he'd listened to Barney.

But living in a truck?

No, not even Barney could talk him into that. He chuckled and went back to the computer, sure that Barney's call was the end of it. He didn't need a truck and he certainly wasn't going to make a spectacle of himself.

Oh, he'd had more than a few spectacle-type experiences in his youth, but he'd grown up. Well, mostly at least.

Ethan pushed all thoughts of his misbegotten youth and insane contests to the back of his mind and began entering the data again. He'd come into work early today to catch up, not to worry about some juvenile contest.

"Did you call?" Charles Ethan Westbrook, Junior barked as he entered the small office cubicle.

Ethan glanced at his imposing father. "Call who?"

His father rolled his eyes. "Call the radio station."

"Oh, you heard." Ethan derisive laugh came out as a snort. "Of course I didn't call. I don't need a truck, don't even want one if it requires that I live in it first. Why would any sane person want to live in a truck?"

Before his father could reply, Ethan added, "The answer is they wouldn't."

Charles was every bit the professional--his salt and pepper hair brushed just so, his business attire perfectly creased and the disapproving frown on his face speaking volumes–as he leaned over the cluttered desk. "I can give you a number of reasons. Topping my list would be publicity."


"The radio station is working in conjunction with the car dealership. They're covering the event from day one until the end. Can you imagine how many times you could mention the pharmacy on the air? And what if the television stations get involved? Do you know how much air time costs? The pharmacy can't buy that kind of publicity. We couldn't buy it, but maybe..."

Ethan could see where this was going. "No way, Dad."

"This contest would be good for the stores. Westbrook is a small local chain and we need all the good PR we can get. When I handed the reins over to you, I did so because I trusted you to put the stores first. This contest is a way to get the Westbrook name in the spotlight, a spotlight that would be good for business."

Westbrook's four small stores had a hard time competing against the national chains. Charles was right--they couldn't afford to buy this kind of publicity. Ethan was responsible for the business now and he couldn't afford to let this chance go.

"Make the call," Charles said, any paternal pride once again neatly tucked away. "They're picking twenty male names, twenty female, and then on Friday they're narrowing the field down to two--one male, one female. You might not win the spot."

Ethan faced the inevitable. There was no way he could let this opportunity pass without trying. The entire family earned their living through the stores and they all looked to Ethan to keep things running, to keep the small family chain floating in a sea of huge conglomerates.

Ethan picked up the phone and punched the numbers with a terrible sense of foreboding.

He couldn't be lucky enough to lose.


"Lovehandles, the station where love is more than just a song. This is Peter "Punch" O'Brien and Judy Bently. Punch and Judy in the morning."

The husky, female voice that practically screaming sensuality, accompanied Mary Rosenthal as she maneuvered her ancient Pinto through the rain-slicked traffic.

The storm didn't make a dent in her mood.

Nothing could.

The last day of school had finally arrived and her spirits weren't just high, they were soaring. Oh, it wasn't that she didn't like teaching–-she loved it. It was just that Mary had plans for the summer months--big plans.

She'd spent the last four summers taking classes and had finally earned her permanent certification. This year she wasn't doing a thing except reading, and she wasn't reading text books-- not a one. She planned to read all the fun books she'd been hoarding, just waiting for the time and opportunity. Read and sleep. And maybe watch an occasional old movie on television. The thought of curling up on her couch watching Cary Grant added to her self-indulgent fantasies.

Sometimes it seemed she'd spent her twenties in the class room, either as a student or teaching her kindergartners. But not this summer. For three glorious months she was going to be totally selfish. She wasn't going to think about school, or even set foot in one.

Books, the beach, Cary Grant, staying up late, getting up at noon--those were her plans.

Not even Gilda was going to get in her way. Mary was used to worrying about her mother--Gilda had a way of messing up her plans--but not this summer. Neither the rain or thoughts of her mother could dampen Mary's spirit.

Gilda was dating a new man and should be distracted enough to leave her alone. Maybe this relationship would last the entire summer. The enticing thought warmed Mary's heart.

Just then, the steering wheel jerked to the side, pulling Mary from her reverie. She gave it a little tug back on course.

Okay, there might be one tiny, little flaw in her happiness. This ancient Pinto was held together with sheer willpower and a whole lot of prayer.

But she wasn't going to let her old jalopy ruin her perfect mood either.

It might be old, but it worked most of the time, and that's what mattered after all, she reminded herself.

Oh, she could get a job in a public school and with the better salary afford a better car, but Garnerwood Academy was more than just a job, it was a community and the students there held her heart.

She might be looking forward to her summer, but she knew by August she'd be ready to start a new school year.

The Pinto seemed to be behaving again and Mary grinned as she listened to a sappy love song on the radio. She hummed along, contemplating all the marvelous possibilities the summer held for her.

The music on the station ended and Punch came on. "Well, it's Thursday and we have just two more contestants to draw for our Pickup Lines contest. Our two finalists will have a chance to win a brand new Chevy full-sized pickup, courtesy of Al's Autos and Lovehandles. This hour we're pulling from the girls' basket."

"Hey, who are you calling girls?" Judy blustered over the air waves.

"Hey babe, if the garter fits --" Punch started.

"Hey babe me again, Punch O'Brien, and you're going to be doing the rest of this broadcast in a standing position. Just draw a name from the women's basket."

There was a crinkling of paper, or maybe it was the crackling coming from her engine that caught Mary's attention.

Crackling? That wasn't a normal sound, even for her Pinto.

A huge puff of smoke billowed from under the rust-spotted hood and Mary's high spirits took a nose-dive.

"Here we go. The last female," Punch placed a heavy emphasis on female, contestant is..."

Panic flooded Mary's system, but she managed to pull the car to the side of the road. The billow of smoke had become a curtain, blocking the rest of the traffic from view.

It appeared her car had finally given up the fight and was cremating itself.

"Great, just great," she muttered.

What was she going to do without a car?

Mary unbuckled her seatbelt and grabbed her bags, ready to flee the inferno.

"Mary Rosenthal."

Her head jerked toward the radio, apparently the only remaining part of her car that was still working. Had they just said her name?

Judy's voice piped in. "Mary Rosenthal, you have an hour to call WLVH, Lovehandles. If you do, you'll qualify as a finalist in our Pickup Lines Contest."

The smoke thickened. Mary groaned and stepped outside to safety.

She was going to be late for school. It was a silly thought to have in the middle of her car's death. But Mary prided herself on her punctuality. It would be hard to be punctual without a car.

She needed a car or, maybe better yet...a truck.

The radio was still playing as the smoke grew thicker. "And then, stay tuned tomorrow for the big drawing where we'll all find out who our two contestants will be. Remember, they'll live in our Chevy pickup for as long as it takes. Who has the stamina to win--the man, or the woman?"

A police officer materialized through the gray fog. "Ma'am, you need to move away from the car."

Mary followed the officer who pushed his bicycle a couple car lengths away from her smoking Pinto.

"Are you okay?" he asked gently. "Can I get you something?" "Do you have a cell phone I can use?" she asked.

Her mother always said the universe worked in strange ways-- and this time it appeared the universe was working for WLVH.

BOOK, Reviews, Excerpt

From the book: Pickup Lines
By: Holly Jacobs
Publication Date: 4/05
ISBN: 0-8034-9704-0
Copyright © 2005
Published By:  Bouregy, Thomas & Company, Incorporated
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