trouble in bloom
For a while it seemed landscape designer Nina Quinn’s life was one big bed of roses. Her garden makeover business, Taken By Surprise, was blooming. Her pesky ex was finally out of the picture and a hunky new beau, Bobby MacKenna, was in it. But then the weeds started taking over when Bobby accepted a job in another state, nipping their blossoming relationship in the bud. However, he’s back in town to appear with Nina as undercover contestants on “Hitched or Ditched,” TV’s sleaziest reality romance show, since they'd promised Bobby's lawyer cousin they’d help him dig up some dirt on the show’s producer. Then an uncomfortable situation grows far worse when there’s a death behind the scenes...and the only reality is murder.

Nina would much rather be installing an indoor garden at a dysfunctional local nursing home than getting her hands dirty in this dangerous business. But if she doesn’t uproot a cold-blooded off-camera killer, she may be the one who's weeded out.
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Although Nina Quinn’s business, Taken By Surprise, is doing well; despite the occasional dead body she digs up; she grapples with the feeling that she has let the right guy get away.  Bobby MacKenna accepts a job in another state and the relationship “dies on the vine,” or so it seems.  However, Bobby is back in town and they are undercover pretending to be a couple on the Hitched or Ditched reality TV romance show (which is similar to the Newlywed Game).  They are doing this as a favor to Bobby’s cousin, a lawyer, who needs evidence for a lawsuit against the shows’ producer.  The chemistry between Bobby and Nina is clearly still there although they are both trying to ignore it while pretending to be an engaged couple.  Each member of the staff of Hitched or Ditched seems to have a hidden agenda unfortunately Genevieve Sala, wife of the producer/director and co-host winds up dead.  Even if she is on a TV reality show set rather than in a garden digging Nina is doomed to find the dead body.  Once again she finds herself in a race to find the killer before she is the next victim.

Trouble in Bloom is the fourth installment in the Nina Quinn, garden makeover series.  Ana, Nina’s cousin the probation officer, continues to send ex-convicts to her for hire.  Nina’s mom is helping her to renovate her bathroom with the expected disastrous results.  Kit, Mr. Cabrera, Brickhouse Krauss, Riley and the obnoxious ex-husband are all present.  New additions to this novel are Mario and Perry, the other contestants on Hitched or Ditched; Perry is an extraordinary stylist who works miracles on Nina’s appearance and Mario is a court stenographer.  Layered onto the humorous, high energy plotline of Webber’s novels is the highly charged relationship between Bobby and Nina.  As a result of the romantic tension and the whodunit this book clearly straddles both genres and provides the reader with a good dose of romance and mystery.  Trouble in Bloom is a fun read combining romance with an entertaining whodunit twist.

Robin Thomas, New Mystery Reader

Nina Quinn embarks on a personal self-discovery quest just weeks after her hot and heavy relationship with the hunky Bobby MacKenna ended when he moved out of state. But now Bobby is back, temporarily, and Nina agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend on the reality dating show Hitched or Ditched in order to help Bobby’s lawyer cousin with his current case. As Nina finds it more and more difficult not to fall back into Bobby’s arms, as she knows a long-distance relationship would not work, she becomes embroiled in the chaos of the hottest
local reality show. Then a murder occurs on the set of Hitched or Ditched and Nina’s insatiable curiosity propels her to follow the clues and find the murderer all while trying to maintain her sanity around the zany characters in her life which include her nosy mother, meddling cousin, and ex-criminal employees.

***** Trouble in Bloom is an enjoyable fast-paced murder romance novel in which Heather Webber’s Nina Quinn heroine is very reminiscent of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and just as lovable. I really enjoyed this breezy, humorous whodunit filled with lots of quirky but endearing characters! *****

Barbara Stabler, Huntress Book Reviews