by Jennifer Seasons, contemporary (2013)
Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-227145-7
There are major spoilers in this review, although anyone familiar with the "damsel in distress forced to do bad things to the hero" plot would find these spoilers more like a predictable rehash of something they've read so many times before. At any rate, if you want to remain unspoiled, just hit the back button and go on your merry way.
So, Stealing Home. This is meant to be the first book in a series, Diamonds And Dugouts, which would involve baseball dudes. That explains the badly done cover, which saw the talented cover artist pasting a baseball glove onto the hand of a guy who is in some generic clinch with a woman, the baseball glove suspended in the air behind the man's hand like it's being held aloft by poltergeists or something.
The plot is as otherworldly as the cover. This is, as I've said, a tale of a heroine forced to do bad things. Lorelei Littleton is a cat burglar. Since she has no savings, from what I can tell, she must be a lousy cat burglar who, I guess, gave away her loot to the poor or something? Because when the story opens, she needs money ASAP - lots of it - for her two-year old sister's heart problem or that bratty plot device will die in six months. So, Lorelei accepts a gig to rob professional baseball player Mark Cutter's lucky charm. He catches up with her, naturally - yes, definitely a crappy cat burglar - and it's love. Or something.
Now, this story can go either way. It could have the heroine unapologetically going "Wee! I'm stealing his stuff along with his heart, am I cool or what?" Or, the author could go the painful route and this is what she did here. Ms Seasons behaved as if she was forced at gunpoint to write a story featuring a cat burglar heroine, because she has the heroine going the entire book justifying her actions when the author is not forcing a similar viewpoint on me. Of course, we all know that Lorelei would eventually fail to steal the money when it matters - a common plot device to show the heroine's "redemption".
This becomes really problematic when the author has the heroine stealing because a two-year old girl will die without the money. When the heroine wusses out on this, after spending the entire book wailing that she must - she must - for the brat's sake, what does make the heroine? An utterly stupid absolute waste of time, that's what. I don't fault the heroine for doing what she did to save her sister's life - let's face it, it's only stealing a rich guy's lucky charm, after all, not going on a killing spree on all the ponies in the land - but I do think that the heroine wussing out at the last moment to save a life of someone dear to her because the guy she's boinking is cute and has such sad eyes a bag of garbage.
Even more annoying is that Lorelei cops out after spending the entire book wailing and acting like she has the biggest piece of stick with the word "Moral" painted on its side shoved up where the sun doesn't shine on her. When Mark comes on to her, after she deliberately tries to catch his eye in a bar, she balks the idea of having a one night stand (it's so wrong and disgusting... and I wonder whether the author is a 13-year old who finds everything related to sex icky) and considers the man a slut for doing it with many, many women. Mark is spoiled, a playboy, so he's crap and so deserving to have his lucky charm stolen, in her opinion, although it's fine that she lies to him, sleeps with him, and falls in love with him even when she's telling herself that he is complete crap, because she's amazingly moral and she's doing all this for the sake of her sister. Really!
She's stupid too. When Mark takes away her phone to keep her in his house (don't ask), she can't sneak away and call from, I don't know, a shop down the road for help. Oh yes, she's such a complete failure at being a cat burglar, on top of failing everything else.
And Mark, he wants the heroine despite the fact that she keeps lying to him while calling him all kinds of names. She treats him really badly, so I guess it's fair when he pulls out the dumb card too and, when he learns that she's lying to him because of her dying sister, proceeds to dump her because how dare that woman lie to her. What a whore!
Seriously, these two characters don't even stop to consider that, perhaps, saving the life of a two-year old girl may be a good reason to break a few rules along the way. I'd think Mark would jump with joy knowing that she is being a dirtbag dumbass to him for humanitarian reasons, but then again, this book is so full of plot holes and mystifyingly stupid behavior that I don't know why I am expecting anything else.
As I've mentioned, the only way this story makes even a little sense is if the author was forced at gunpoint to write it. It reveals an interesting method of recruitment on the editors' part if this is indeed the case, but somehow I doubt it. If you want to read this book, I suggest doing so while in a state of complete inebriation.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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