For Nina Askew, turing forty means freedom—from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed—a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets…Fred.
Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.
Alex looks great on paper—a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred’s abiding love for Oreos—but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred—not to mention her suddenly raging hormones—Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it’s the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!
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Honors & Awards: A Library Journal Best Book of 1996, RRA-L List Best Series Novel of 1996 and Best Romantic Comedy of 1996, Under The Covers 1996 Readers’ Favorite Award for Best Series Romance, 1997 Holt Medallion Finalist for Best Short Contemporary Romance Novel
Here’s Fred’s Book.
Back in 1995 when I turned the manuscript in to my editor, I called it The Importance of Owning Fred, but she shot that down, so when it was published in ’96, it was called Anyone But You. It didn’t matter. People would say, “You know what book of yours I liked? That one, oh, what was it? You know. Fred’s book.” Or “My favorite one of yours was that one with Fred. Anyone but Fred? No, that wasn’t it. Well, you know.”
I know. Fred’s Book.
Even the reviewers thought so. The Library Journal wrote “A non-traditional couple (he’s 30, she’s 40) and a dog with a true personality make this one of the funniest, sexiest romances of the year.” They also named it one of the best books of 1996, but when they talk more about the personality of the dog than they do about the personalities of the characters, you know the dog is carrying the show.
It’s Fred’s book.
Fred wasn’t based on a real dog because Fred was pretty much All Dogs. The Uber Dog, if you will. Cookie-snatching, walk-avoiding, marathon-sleeping, Fred would have swept the gold medals for the floor exercises at the Dog Olympics, so it’s no wonder he upstages his owner, Nina, and the guy downstairs, Alex, not to mention Nina’s best friend, Charity, and Alex’s brother, Max. There are a lot of great characters in this book, some of my favorites of all time, but at the end of the day, none of them can compete with Fred.
Yep, it’s Fred’s Book.
So welcome to Fred’s world. It’s a place where basset hounds fly (or at least leap out of windows), nobody ever runs out of Oreos, and true love conquers all, even with a ten-year age difference.
Fred wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s hoping you like Fred’s book.
Best wishes, Jenny Crusie
On writing: This book was a pure joy to write from beginning to end. It started with an idea from another author, Brenna Todd, (Harlequin Superromance) and became the first proposal my agent worked on (which is why she’s now Fred’s godmother). Then Birgit Davis-Todd and Malle Vallik adopted it and shifted it from Temptation to the now defunct Love and Laughter line, and Sherie Posesorski edited it (no revisions!) and Liba Berry copy-edited it, and we all loved it and patted ourselves on the backs and chortled with glee and pride. Then somebody took the only copy-edited manuscript home with her and her house burned down and we had to start over, which is why there are some strange copy edit glitches in the finished book. But Fred still rules.
Original title: The Importance of Owning Fred
On animals: Fred was made up, a composite of everything I know about dogs in general and hounds in particular, but I’m sure he’s real.
On research: Yes, I did try on an Incredibra (brand names have been changed to protect the sue-able) as research for this book. Quite an experience.