Desire Me Only
by Thea Devine, historical (2002, 1997 reissue)
Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-0097-8

This is Thea Devine on a really bad day. Toned down sex, so much hate, and absolutely no romance, unless you count the "Romance" word on the spine.

This one is about Lady Diandra Reynell and her sister Selena leaving India to live with Diandra's stepson Justin. They hatehatehatehate each other, but they meet in some deserted maze-like thing under their estate for hate-filled shaggings. I'm talking about Diandra and Justin, not Diandra and Selena ("Noooo!" - the entire male population). These shaggings are short, toned-down, and not at all erotic, more like perfunctory, especially when Justin is boinking a woman he is sure murdered his father.

The father-son-stepmother boinkums aren't even as fun as that one in the deliciously twisted Desired (hint to Zebra: stop releasing the duds and give me Desired or at least Beyond Desire).

A thousand minus points for the ghastly image of Diandra hysterically splatting and rubbing Justin's, ahem, cream all over her kittens. Is aloe vera out of fashion already? Mind you, she doesn't bathe after her beauty treatment, so I can only imagine how she stinks to high heaven when she serves tea to those British marms. Hmm, that's a thought. Too bad the author never presents a scene like that one. Seriously, I still give a shudder whenever I pass the toiletries and cosmetics section in the supermarket downtown.

The finale is one silly melodrama, of course, no question about that. This is Thea Devine, Queen of Over-the-top Conspiracies we are talking about here. But the incessant hatehatehate bickerings, punctuated by that icky beauty treatment (does the author know something about the properties of male fluids that I don't - endowment amelioration properties, perhaps?) and perfunctory sex give me a really headsplitting migraine.

Rating: 40

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