by Sharon Sala, Paula Detmer Riggs, Peggy Moreland; contemporary (2002)
Silhouette, $6.50, ISBN 0-373-48481-X
Sharon Sala has called her two buddies to present this anthology to us readers with the full love of their hearts. Or so Ms Sala says in her foreword. I love you all too, authors. Maybe for our newfound love and friendship, you all may consider returning my $6.50?
The three stories here aren't bad, only rather average. The plots are familiar, the conflicts are predictable, and the characters remind me of characters I've come across so many times before. All in all, a very average novel that offers nothing more than a comfort read.
Sharon Sala, now that she is a suspense author, ooh, presents a romantic suspense novella in Sudden Danger. Kristie Samuels, our heroine, gets a bouquet of flowers from a secret admirer and freaks out. She calls the cops, but the nice cop that drops by is - ta-da! Her first love Scott Wade! Apparently their teenaged sex was so good, neither has gotten over it.
Kristie is appropriately helpless, Scott is appropriately protective, and the villain is appropriately dysfunctional and whackjobby. There's also a public service message from Sharon Sala: the big city is evil, so people, flee to the small town where there is no crime and everybody is happy and caring! I love you too, Ms Sala. Buy me a house in Pleasantville and we'll be the best of neighbors.
Paula Detmer Riggs presents Fighting For His Wife, a very predictable story of a couple close to divorcing because the wife Tia Kostas Hunter is fed up with our football player hero Bryce spending more time pawing a football than pawing her. But Bryce wants her back.
I don't know about anybody else, but if a man wants to woo me back, he'd better be upfront about it. Bryce, however, decides to send her flowers and all from her 'secret admirer', and then agonizes whether she's in love with him more or she loves the secret admirer better. I could have smacked my own forehead at this point. Duh! I should've seen that one coming.
If the reasons for the divorce are something serious - real issues, maybe even adultery - I would appreciate the unnecessary hoops Bryce jumps through or the rather annoying arguments he and wifey have better. But this couple is bickering over issues I find rather trivial and petty. This one is not a bad read, but it's a silly one at the same time.
Peggy Moreland's It Had To Be You loses me from the moment our hero Michael Shay decides to throw his secretary Jamie to his alcoholic partner Tremaine so that she can get Tremaine back on the right track. He does this by sending flowers to Jamie and making it such that it seems as if Tremaine is the secret admirer.
Firstly, asking his secretary to babysit his drunkard partner for life is just evil if you ask me. Trying to get her to do this under false pretenses is pure evil to both Tremaine and Jamie. And I don't find it credible that a man will resort to matchmaking as a solution to saving his company. The average dim-witted romance heroine and her twenty thousand psycho marriage-mad girlfriends, yes, but men in any novel, no.
Jamie is predictably the dim-witted Cathy-type who can't get a man but wants a man, any man, and Michael soon falls for her. Since he has set in motion a chain of events that can only bite him in the ass, what can he do? The story unfolds in a pretty predictable pattern where it doesn't matter how insufferable and patronizing Michael is to her or how childish he acts even to the second last page, he's a man and a man is what our heroine needs to be whole and happy, "You've had me at hello eek-eek-eek" style.
I find the plot silly and the characters annoying and full of it. It Had To Be You is the weakest of the three novellas here.
Turning Point is an average anthology with average drama and average entertainment value.
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