Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7264-3
Paranormal Romance, 2002
Some Enchanted Evening is a Halloween anthology, and unsurprisingly, it deals with magic, time travel, and ghost (one in each story). The stories vary in quality from outright painful to just okay if forgettable, all stories being unforgivably stupid in one way or the other. Maybe these authors believe that they are being cute, but my cute barometer doesn’t work like everyone else’s.
Linda Devlin starts off the spooky show with a story all about horny ghosts in Haunted Honeymoon. John and Tessa Travis are starting off the honeymoon of their arranged marriage in the wrong way: their love motel is actually a haunted house. Tessa, a 19th century lass, is dutiful, hiding her love for John, until John wonders what happened to the vivacious gal he knew when they were teenagers.
John and Tessa have something good here, as the author develops their slowly unfurling bond and passion very well. But she has to ruin it by putting matchmaking ghosts who aren’t above interrupting our couple boinking with their nonsense. Nice, ghosts watching people boinking. People, you’ve been warned. Get an exorcist to cleanse your bedroom before you and your loved one get down to biz-nes – Ms Devlin is telling y’all so, so you better listen, okay?
Then comes Sandy Moffett’s Bewitching. Our witch Constance Sedgewick is coming into her powers… and now she needs to boink a man or lose her power forever! Oh no, can she boink a man whom she has fallen in love with but doesn’t want to bonk for the sake of bonking? I know, I’d happily boink a cute guy if we’re both willing and available, but Connie’s a romance heroine. She can’t boink for the sake of boinking. After Stefan has boinked her, she can’t marry him because he never says that he loves her!
Stupefyingly obtuse heroine and a wretched hero who deserves better make this story barely palatable, but when I factor in the insulting premise, this story isn’t even fit for my puke bucket. Excuse me, I don’t see any stories about male virgin wizards needing to have sex NOW or lose his powers, so why do we women have to get the royal shaft in the braindead plot department? The message here, brought to you by Sandy Moffett, is that a woman can’t be all-powerful unless she has a man completing her literally in all ways possible.
Finally, Deb Stover’s Citizen Daisy. It has promise, right before the story veers off into mouth-opening tomfoolery. Daisy Peabody, a 19th century lass, is surprised when 21st century guilt-ridden politician Jack McCullough falls literally into her life. He wants to go home, but first, he has to live out some adventures that revolve mostly around saving Daisy from herself. Daisy and Jack seems like intelligent folks at first, but Daisy becomes more and more a neurotic Daddy’s girl that weeps at the drop of a hat while making stupid decisions, while Jack becomes equally ridiculous as he praises martyr-friendly Daisy as brave and daring and intelligent.
This one’s not bad compared to the other two, but it tries so hard to be “cute” and “likable” (by making the heroine a ridiculously selfless “Please Daddy Until I Die” dingbat) that it creaks and shudders under the weight of its own contrivances.
Still, some consolation points have to be given to a story with a line like “Congressman asphyxiated by mutant mammaries”.
You know what’s the biggest disappointment here? Deb Stover and Linda Devlin’s stories actually start out good and fun, before they go all weird and start trying too hard to imitate bad stand-up comics. Some Enchanted Evening is more like an evening staring in horror at handsome, shaggable hunk (you even have three boxes of Trojan just for this evening) snorting like a hysterical bullmastiff as he pokes straws up his nostrils and snorts booger into his soup. At one point, one will wish she can turn back the clock and spend the evening doing something more palatable, like scrubbing off the stubborn stains of the toilet bowl.