Worth the Weight

Worth the Weight

by Eileen Palma


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How much weight is too much for one romance to bear?

When Kate Richards, the effervescent host of television's KidFit and the author of kid-friendly diet cookbooks, runs into Jack Moskowitz at a dog park, sparks fly. He's attractive, charming, and single. She has no idea that he's also the one man who could cost Kate her career—the CEO of Considerable Carriages, a company that profits from childhood obesity.

Jack knows exactly who Kate is, though. She tore his company apart on television only the day before! Seeing an opportunity, Jack starts digging up dirt on his nemesis, to put her crusade on ice once and for all. But the more time the two spend together, the more his lie—and his feelings for Kate—spiral out of control.

When Jack and Kate try to tip the scales of romance it brings chaos, heartbreak and hilarity and more than a few laps around love's track.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626812802
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 04/29/2014
Pages: 318
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt


Jack couldn't decide if adding a super-sized cup holder to the CC-XL Deluxe stroller would be jumping the shark. He had retrofitted the design of the original CC-XL to fit up to eighty-three pounds — well past the sixty-five pound limit they had introduced back in 2008. He designed a wider wheelbase and a deeper seat to fit taller, heavier kids, some of whom were probably grade school age. He tweeted that he was working on the prototype of an upgraded CC-XL and now he was getting requests via Twitter, Facebook and the Considerable Carriages website for larger cup holders and built-in snack trays. Jack was up most of the night, trying to figure out how to satisfy his customer base without making his company a target for Jimmy Fallon.

He was sprawled out on his couch, debating whether it would be more productive to nap for a few hours or make a Starbucks run when his apartment door opened. Diesel, his scruffy Jack Russell mix, jumped off the couch and assaulted the moving door with fits of yippy barks.

"What if I had been entertaining?" asked Jack with a raised eyebrow when his sister Harper walked in with her daughter, Lauren. They lived in the top half of Jack's brownstone, but gave themselves carte blanche to the lower floors as well. When Jack converted the building into a duplex, he had kept the bottom half and rented out the top to Harper and her family for a nominal fee. His business was doing so well, he hadn't really needed to charge them anything, but Harper's husband David, a career Marine, wasn't the type to take a handout.

"The odds of you having a woman over are pretty unlikely. Did I hear you watching Straight Talk last night?" "Damn these walls are too thin," grumbled Jack. "Kate Richards from KidFit filled her time slot ripping on Considerable Carriages. I was getting tweets about it all night."

"It's great that she wants to keep children from getting fat, but in the meantime someone has to keep them all from outgrowing their car seats and tipping over their high chairs."

"Someone needs to tell Kate Richards that," said Jack.

"God, this place is a mess." Harper cleared the drained Red Bull cans and empty Moroccan Delight food cartons off the coffee table and carried them to the kitchen.

"Don't you ever sleep in your bed?" Jack's ten-year-old niece, Lauren, flung herself on the brown leather couch. He was still lying down, but she was just the right size to squeeze next to him and steal most of his crocheted afghan. Then, of course, Diesel jumped back on the couch and took over the few remaining square inches of cushion.

"Maybe I should start sleeping in my room, so you two won't wake me up next time."

"What's up with the hair?" Lauren looked at him with narrowed eyes.

"You're the one who told me to grow it out. I'm still at the in-between stage." Jack's thick hair curled into what his friends dubbed a Jew-fro, even though he was only half Jewish and had never set foot in an actual synagogue. But with a last name like Moskowitz, he may as well own it.

"Try using gel. That might help the situation." Lauren had inherited the same thick stubborn curls, but since she was a girl she had the luxury to grow her penny brown hair to her waist to make it work.

"I wasn't aware that I was having an actual hair 'situation'." But in the end, Jack knew he would take her suggestion.

"Harper, you have to see this!" Jack queued up the YouTube clip on his laptop.

Harper walked back in, wiping her hands on a dishcloth. She plopped on the couch by Lauren's feet, leaving even less room for Jack. He sat up and played back the sound bite.

"Childhood obesity is at an all time high in this country, making this generation the first one in history predicted to have their parents outlive them. Our next guest, Kate Richards, host of ABC's KidFit, and New York Times bestselling author of Mini-Munchies, is here to tell us how to put a stop to this epidemic."

The former White House reporter turned talk show host, Lucy Barrows, stood and clapped as the canned theme music to KidFit played in the background. She still wore the dark suits and cultured pearls of the DC press league and her shiny brown hair grazed her chin in a sleek bob. In contrast, Kate Richards wore army fatigue printed yoga pants and a tiny camouflage tee shirt with the KidFit logo stretched across her boobs — not too original, but it was her trademark look.

"Hi everyone," Kate sang, over the audience's cheers as she settled into the oversized armchair in the living room style set.

"Let's cut to the chase," Lucy began as soon as she sat back down in the other armchair. "What's your biggest pet peeve?"

Kate shook her loose blond waves over her shoulder and for a split second Jack almost forgot she was the enemy. "One word — strollers!" The audience rallied.

"We have so many uber-fit moms, especially here in Manhattan, who love jog strollers. They throw their kids in, shove organic chocolate milk and cookies at them and cart them all over the city, getting their exercise in while their kids pack on the pounds." The audience roared in agreement.

"There's been a lot of debate on the news recently about a company called Considerable Carriages, which actually caters to overweight children," Lucy explained.

"Don't even get me started about that company. As we speak, they're designing a stroller to fit children who weigh up to eighty pounds! Which either means mothers are intending on carting around their sixth graders or this company is profiting from morbidly obese toddlers." Kate Richards' voice poured from the screen, thick and velvety like chocolate, and Jack had to remind himself that she was actually spewing hatred for his company.

Lucy cut in. "I heard the company was originally founded because heavier kids couldn't properly fit in car seats. So, isn't Considerable Carriages actually keeping these kids from getting seriously injured in a car accident?"

"Lucy, we need to curb childhood obesity rather than accommodate and profit from it."

Jack snapped his laptop shut. "That's pretty much the gist of it."

"You're not the bad guy here. You aren't the one pumping these kids with high fructose corn syrup and fast food," said Harper.

"This kid in my class brings Ding Dongs for snack every day," said Lauren. "I bet he used to ride around in one of your strollers."

"That's not nice, Lauren." Harper chewed on her bottom lip to keep from laughing.

"This chick is profiting off fat kids just as much as I am, with her diet cookbook and kids' exercise show."

"Exactly, so let your publicist deal with her and just focus on your designs."

"The best way to deal with a bully is to ignore them," piped in Lauren.

"Or knock them out. But I guess I can't do that in this situation." Jack rolled his head around to get the kink out of his neck. "So anyway, what are you guys doing here so early?"

"Guess who's going to be the next face of Sunrise Granola?"

While Jack's grey eyes had always been described as wolfish, Harper's ice blue eyes were more Siberian Husky, which was what turned her somewhat average appearance into that something special that landed her commercial and print work. Most of Harper's teen modeling photos had landed in local circulars and catalogs, but as she got older she grew into her looks enough to play the cool young mom in commercials, making her the rare model who booked more work as she aged.

"Congrats! I guess that means you need me to keep an eye on Lauren while you do the shoot?" Lauren was already reaching for a Wii remote as he spoke.

"Thanks Jack." Harper started inching towards the door.

"Can I play the Wii?"

"Sure. Just let me sleep for an hour and then we can go out and do whatever you want." Jack rolled over on the couch and pulled the throw back over himself. "And hit the mute button."

Harper paused at the door. "Jack, you really should let me set you up with one of my friends. I hate to see you sitting home alone every Saturday night."

"I'm not alone. I just had a movie date with my favorite niece last week." Jack pounded his closed fist against Lauren's in solidarity.

"Seriously, Jack. You haven't had a girlfriend in ages."

"I'm sure I'll meet the right one soon enough. And when I do, you girls will be the first to find out."

"I know this model who just got divorced, well actually I think she's just separated, but she's definitely getting divorced at some point."

Jack caught Lauren's eye from where she stood out of her mom's line of vision. She mouthed no and waved both hands back and forth.

"No thanks."

As soon as Jack's heavy eyelids touched down, his phone played the theme to The Dukes of Hazzard. It was his business partner Matt's ring tone, a nod to their favorite show growing up due to their mutual admiration for muscle cars and Daisy Duke.

"Did you finish the design?"

"Hell no. I'm still on the fence about those snack trays." Jack threw back the afghan and gave up all hope of getting that nap. He got up and poured himself a mug of stale coffee and headed to the picnic table in his back courtyard.

"The public's asking for them," said Matt. "We might as well give 'em what they want."

"You think Straight Talk was bad? We go all out with this and there's no turning back." Jack abandoned the aggressively bitter cup of brew on the table. He would have to make a coffee run soon.

"I already drafted a rebuttal for that conservative hag to read on Monday morning."

"I told you this would happen if we bumped the weight class up to eighty pounds. Lauren's in fourth grade and isn't even close to that."

"Lauren's a gymnast. Dude, she'll be in high school before she weighs that much."

"Bad example."

"How many times have we talked about this? We can't provide car seats to keep all those kids safe without the revenue of the strollers."

"I know. You don't have to keep hitting me over the head with it."

"Bottom line — there's no Considerable Carriages without the carriages. So quit being a pussy and finish the design."

When Jack came back inside, the TV was off, the Wii controller abandoned on the coffee table next to his sketches.

"Starbucks run!" Listening for Lauren's answer, Jack heard the tub filling in the bathroom.

"Finish up so we can walk Diesel and get coffee. There's a vanilla Frappuccino in it for you if you're ready in the next five minutes!"

Lauren opened the door, releasing wispy curls of steam into the hallway. "You can come in. I was just giving Diesel a bath."

Jack had always wanted a dog named Diesel and had every intention of rescuing a Pit Bull from the pound, but he made the mistake of bringing Lauren with him and had ended up leaving with a squirrely fifteen pound dog and christening it with the monster dog name.

Lauren was wearing one of Jack's denim Considerable Carriages button downs with the sleeves rolled up over her own clothes. The ends of her hair were wet from leaning over the tub. Sometimes she reminded him so much of Harper. Like when she used to give their geriatric Lab mix weekly bubble baths, leaving behind a trail of wet fur and an empty bottle of Herbal Essences for their mom to find.

Lauren turned off the water and Jack pulled his wet mutt out of the tub, soaking his shirt in the process. "We just gave him a bath last week. Was he really that dirty?" Jack gave the inside of Diesel's ears a good rub down with the towel as Lauren held him on the bath mat.

"I forgot to tell you! Diesel got invited to a birthday party." Lauren handed Jack a damp piece of cardstock. The center had a picture of a black and white Boston Terrier with huge runny eyes and a pink polka dot bow wrapped around her neck. Sarah Jessica Barker Turns One! screamed the headline in a Sex and the City- style font.

"Where'd you get this?" Jack flipped the invite over to view the party details, which included cake and a romp in the Chelsea dog park.

"The dog walker gave it to me a few weeks ago when she dropped Diesel off. She said it was from one of her other clients." Lauren rubbed Jack's white towel back and forth over the dog's hind end while he stayed surprisingly still.

"Why would some random dog owner invite Diesel to their dog's birthday party?"

"Sarah Jessica Barker's not just some random dog! She's Diesel's girlfriend."

"Diesel has a girlfriend?"

"Don't you ever talk to Pam when she drops Diesel off?"

"I've been too busy working lately to say much more than hi and bye to Pam. Speaking of which, I was up half the night working. The last thing I want to do is go to a dog's birthday party."

Lauren looked up at him with puppy Siberian Husky eyes. "I really miss Dad and he's still at that base where he doesn't have Internet or phone. This would really cheer me up."

Jack sighed. He couldn't take it when she pulled the "my dad is stationed in Afghanistan" card. "Fine, we can go. I just really need a cup of coffee first."

"You're planning on changing your clothes too, right? And taking a shower?"

"The dogs aren't gonna care what I look or smell like," mumbled Jack.

But twenty minutes later, Jack was showered, his hair gelled into submission, and he had changed into a fresh tee-shirt and a relatively clean pair of jeans. Lauren had changed out of her dog-grooming smock, so that she was now wearing those denim leggings she practically lived in.

"I have gymnastics at four. You can drop me off after the party." Lauren grabbed her gym bag off the banister and slung it over her shoulder.

Jack pulled the heavy wooden door of the brownstone shut and made sure it was locked while Lauren walked Diesel onto the sidewalk. It was one of those warm September afternoons that had a hint of the crisp cool air that would carry them into fall. Diesel quickly figured out where they were going and started tugging on the leash.

The Chelsea dog run was only a few blocks from Jack's brownstone, sandwiched between the North and Southbound West Side Highway, but the sounds of barking dogs overpowered the noise from the cars rushing past.

When they neared the fence, Jack was immediately approached by a heavy-set man juggling a clipboard and a pumpernickel bagel that was oozing vegetable cream cheese from the sides.

"Sorry, folks. The dog park is closed for a private party." The cream cheese was dangerously close to dripping on Jack's sneakers.

"We were invited." Lauren's voice edged with gloating as she pulled the invitation from her back pocket and handed it to the man. "This is Diesel, the birthday girl's boyfriend."

As much as Jack didn't want to go to the party, it was nice to get one over on this sorry excuse for a bouncer.

"Here're the camera waivers." The man handed his clipboard to Jack. "Fill out both forms and sign the bottom."

As Jack reached for the clipboard, he suddenly registered the three cameramen stationed throughout the small dog park. Living in Manhattan, he was used to stumbling on movie and reality show sets, but so far he had been able to evade that type of notoriety.

"You know Mom's fine with me being on camera. Remember, I did that episode of Law & Order: SVU?"

"How could I forget?"

Chelsea Piers was home to the Law & Order crew and they had needed some young gymnasts in the background of a scene. Lauren eagerly participated and ended up with what may or may not have actually been her toes and part of her elbow in a shot, but she still jumped at every opportunity to brag about it.

"What're they filming?" asked Jack. But the man had already turned to the next party guest who had actually brought a gift bag. Jack wondered what was hidden beneath the hot pink tissue paper. Rawhide bones? Tennis balls? Treats?

"It's probably an Animal Planet show." Lauren shrugged her shoulders and ran over to the food table.

Jack had just finished unleashing Diesel when he spotted his dog walker, Pam. She was hard to miss with her bright blue ASPCA cap and matching tee-shirt over stone washed Levis. Pam had lived in a rent-controlled studio apartment across the street from Jack and Harper their whole lives and had been their babysitter when they were kids. She moved onto dog sitting not long after they outgrew her, which Jack tried not to take personally. Diesel started humping Pam's leg and she gently pulled him off and shooed him towards a game of chase with a Chihuahua and a Maltese.

Jack reached his arms out for Pam's usual motherly hug that smelled of Johnson's baby powder and liver treats, but she stopped him with one firm hand to the chest.

"Are you fucking crazy?" Pam jerked her head so vigorously that her hat almost fell off.

"Not the greeting I was hoping for." Jack was pretty certain this was the first time he had ever heard Pam drop the F bomb.


Excerpted from "Worth the Weight"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Eileen Palma.
Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Worth the Weight 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and loved it!!!! I could not put it down. I could not wait to find out what happened next! Struggled with all our book club suggestions and this one was a breeze. I could relate to many things and places in the book. Hope she writes a sequel. It is definitely a great book club book to discuss or just a book to relax and enjoy. Great job Eileen!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was not a big fan of the book, I had high expectations based on the other reviews but felt the dialogue was hum drum and the book was corny in many ways. There was also these random very sex scenes that did not seem to flow with this type of book. I had to stop half way through, I was just not intigued enough.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings These two should be polar opposites and should not find anything attractive in the other, but after a few chance encounters they can't seem to get away from each other, but their professionals are definitely conflicting.   The quick romance threw me for a loop and it definitely moved to the bedroom fast and I was nervous that there was going to be nowhere to go, but the author turned the story on its head at the right moment and I loved how it concluded.  Another story that took the reader behind the scenes of celebrity which I always love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great romantic comedy! I could not put it down. You instantly connect with the characters. Highly entertaining. A must summer read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best beach read of 2014. When my friends ask me to recommend a book for their vacation I'll tell them about this one. Palma's characters, Jack and Kate are endearing and I was cheering them on every step of the way as the drama built and built. I hope Palm will write a sequel because I'd follow them anywhere. It combines what I love best, comedy and romance in New York City. Palma is very clever in keeping the action going.
Jacqui2540JG More than 1 year ago
Worth the Weight by Eileen Palma deserves five stars in the Michelin Guide to romantic comedy. Told in alternating male/female viewpoints, it can be gobbled like a wonderful dessert on first read, but subsequent readings provide food for thought. Here's the "skinny." Jack Moscowitz is the CEO of Considerable Carriages, a company which makes strollers and car seats for overweight kids. Kate Richards is a children's fitness guru whose TV program showcases healthy diet and exercise. As the book opens, Kate excoriates Jack's company in a television interview, claiming that it abets childhood obesity. When the two meet he conceals his identity and the comedy of errors begins. (Dog lovers will relish that Jack and Kate are first brought together by their pets, Diesel and Sarah Jessica Barker.) Palma demonstrates intimate knowledge of New York City and of pop culture as Jack pursues Kate in his brownstone, her apartment, and in places of interest like Chelsea Pier and the New York City Trapeze School, where he takes Kate on a date to impress her. Descriptions of the food - healthy choices except when Kate the fitness expert dips French fries into her milk-shake- are also fun. Quirky characters like Mrs. Fink, the Jewish matchmaker who tries to micromanage Kate's love life, and Lauren, Jack's 12 year old niece, whose strategic tactics help unite the couple, add humor. And there is sex aplenty to keep the pages turning. Yet this is more than a romp. Both Jack and Kate change and grow as the plot twists and turns toward the reveal of Jack's true identity and Kate's painful past. Although its tone is lighthearted, Worth the Weight carries no empty calories and is well worth your time.
Lovz-Books More than 1 year ago
“Children are so FAT today. Isn’t there some way we can make money off that?” –Agnes from The Simpsons Well, that’s exactly what Jack is hoping to do with his invention—extra large seats for heavier children. Did he not see the issue with that? Kate Richards was the official spokesperson for KidFit, a T.V. talk show against childhood obesity. Technically, she was also banking on the little fatties. She is considered Jack’s nemesis, but the two can’t help but feel an instant attraction to each other. The two had a great, effervescent chemistry that was often youthful and klutzy. Their whole interlude read like a high school episode with two love-obsessed teenagers. Still, the moments when they talked and connected felt genuine, albeit a little sappy sometimes. But you figure that with all the things that they both have to deal with in their lives (Jack looking after his niece while her dad is in Afghanistan and Kate rushing to pay off some bookie to save her father), it was a comfort to know that they could confide and be there for each other. Of course, no romance can stay perfect without a little conflict messing things up. In this case, Jack wasn’t honest about who he was—owner of the fat carriage company she’s been publicly bashing—before getting tangled up in the sheets with the woman. It’s like two people with opposing political views. How can anyone make that work? I guess it’s easy when all they could think about was sex. I must say some scenes were a little lascivious. But political views have a way of creating war. Suddenly, both sides are firing at each other amidst the chaos of the sleazy paparazzi. I must say that the media turning up the heat and shaking things up made the plot more interesting. What better way to turn their world upside down? Will the pair be able to figure a way out of this mess? Can they save their careers or risk losing everything for love? Sprinkled with light-hearted humor, Worth the Weight is a sweet, contemporary romance that paralleled similarities to the book/movie Must Love Dogs. Even with the zany dating advice from the eccentric group of characters, it was ultimately the dogs that hooked these two up. Also, Kate reminded me a great deal of Diane Lane with her awkward sensitivity and shyness. To be perfectly honest, I only saw the movie once (never read the book) and thought that it was an okay story, and Worth the Weight felt like a rehash of the same story but with a media-frenzy twist. In fact, that little twist made it better. It was interesting to see the nutty side of fabricated headlines, flashing cameras, and emergency PR work. I was actually curious to see how it would turn out (even though I had a good guess.) So if you love dogs and quirky romances, this is the book for you.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In her debut novel, Worth the Weight, author Eileen Palma weaves an entertaining romantic comedy that follows the unexpected romance between two nemeses who are at opposite ends of the social issues of child fitness and childhood obesity. Jack Moskowitz is the CEO of Considerable Carriages, a company that builds strollers and car seats for large children. Kate Richards is the television host for KidsFit and the author of kid-friendly diet cookbooks. Jack and Kate meet at the local dog park in NYC, and while Jack knows who Kate is ... his nemesis, Kate doesn't know who Jack is. Jack's identity is kept hidden when his niece Lauren steps in and provides Kate with a phony last name. Jack is determined to dig up dirt on his nemesis, but as they get to know each other attraction builds and an unexpected romantic relationship develops, but is it worth the weight when opposites attract, and the truth of the mistaken identity rises to the surface? Worth the Weight is a delightful romantic comedy that kept me in stitches and thoroughly entertained. Set in NYC, the author provides the reader with a fast paced romantic tale that takes them on a fun romp through the city that never sleeps with richly descriptive references of local landmarks. The reader is easily drawn into Jack and Kate's story as they unexpectedly fall in love through one sly little girl's intervention, even though they are on the opposite sides of a touchy social issue, childhood obesity. I loved the witty dialogue, the humorous romantic chaos and dramatic tension between Kate and Jack, and the inclusion of their pet dogs Sarah Jessica Barker and Diesel, and the quirkiness of the secondary characters. Worth the Weight is a lighthearted story has a little bit of everything: humor, romance, drama, tension, and a subtle message on the awareness of the social issue concerning childhood obesity. This is an easy read that will keep the reader laughing-out-loud and entertained on a lazy spring/summer afternoon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read this book by Eileen Palma & it is a delightful read. With a writing style that is enjoyable and reminiscent of some of my favorite authors (Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin etc) this was the type of book that I had a hard time putting down. Though categorized as a romance, I found Worth the Weight to be so much more. It was a really fun story that moved at just the right pace. No "romance" would be complete without sex scenes, and Palma's book was no exception. However, unlike your typical cheesy scenes, these were steamy while managing to remain tasteful. The character development left you genuinely liking and rooting for the characters, and I found myself experiencing their emotions right along with them. I also enjoyed the setting in NYC. She wrote it in such a way that I imagined myself walking around with the characters, seeing the brownstones and parks. I would definitely recommend this book for someone who is looking for a great read. -Siobhan