A Family Affair
by Shirley Hailstock, contemporary (2002)
Arabesque, $6.99, ISBN 1-58314-366-1

If you expect A Family Affair to be some incestuous kink novel, I despair for you. This is actually a story of two very one-dimensional perfect dude and dudette being forced into a shag scenario by their meddling family members. They all but put their feet over the perfect buttocks of Brenda Reid and Wes Cooper and force a penetration.

Wes and Brenda are idiots. These people are drop dead gorgeous and seem to have stepped out of some fashion spread devoted to demigods of beauty, yet they whine that they aren't married by 30 or that they can't get laid. Wes, beautiful, wants a woman. She must be beautiful, of course, and talented and logical and passionate yet she must give him a baby and then leave him and his baby alone. Um, Wes, I think you have just contradicted yourself. Instead of hie-ing his gluts off to the local sperm bank, he decides to seek out the local "siren queen" (well, her whining is ear-splitting enough) Brenda Reid, an astronomer with two huge constellations on her chest and the milky way between her thighs and also Wes' colleague in Myers University.

He makes a very public bet that he will marry her within a month, and naturally, Brenda isn't amused when she becomes the focus of the entire campus. (Memo to self: disinherit kids that want to go to this university.) Brenda flees home, Wes follows, and there, the evil family ties the both of them up and chants "Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex!" as they pour goat blood over our two hapless prisoners and evoke the dark Goat Demon to infuse their sacrifices with the spirit of the horny beast. Forget Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, this is the real apocalypse. Okay, just kidding. What happens is that everyone knows that Wes and Brenda are True Love Forever, Wes and Brenda Belong Together 4eva, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex!

I can't tell the family members apart - where do they all come from? - but Brenda and Wes aren't any better. Overprivileged, overendowed brats who keep whining about how lousy their love lives are, oh give me a break. Their antics are childish, their communication techniques more often than not end with some silly miscommunication tantrums, and they are lethally dull. This is also one of those romances where you marry the spouse, you get the whole family in the wedding bed. I've never seen a clan so obsessed with seeing everybody wedded and bedded. This is what happens when you don't have a healthy outlet for your horny spirits. Or maybe it's a long and hard fight for the 15-minutes of privacy in the bathroom with an edition of Geneology Monthly - the Playboy in the romance genre - in this whacked family. Either way, this family affair is one for the Salem's Lot annals.

Rating: 48

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