Wanton Angel
by Shirl Henke, historical (2002)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-4973-2

A sequel of sorts to last year's Wicked Angel, Wanton Angel also has a clueless heroine, Elizabeth Blackthorne, who is so clueless that she is begging for a wake-up bitchslap. And when she finally wises up, the hero Derrick Jamison's IQ gets flushed down the toilet bowl and everyone gets embroiled in a paternity confusion big misunderstanding. You've been warned, people.

American Elizabeth Blackthorne first meets British spy Derrick Jamison when he is rendezvousing with a Spanish diplomat and she needs his help to find her brother's dog. Without the dog, her family will ground her forever and she will never be able to wander off alone to dangerous places to draw pretty things - oh yes, Elizabeth's an "artist" (ha!) - and she will be so sad, oh, oh, oh. So can good Derrick pay the irate innkeeper whose chicken coop the dog demolished and help her find the dog? When he does, her eyes glow and she thinks he's like the most handsome and best man to walk this earth ever.

I cling on to the holy crucifix. The apocalypse is nigh.

Three years later, they meet again when Elizabeth is in Europe, sponsored by some "liberal" woman who just wants to see Liz get laid. Derrick is on some secret mission stuff, but he doesn't hesitate to deflower dim-witted, besotted Elizabeth - with no intention of marriage, in case you're wondering. Then he finally marries her anyway, but she just has to throw some, er, "history" into his face, and when she gets pregnant, it's "Who's the motherfucking daddy, bitch?" time.

The story really gets moving when the author shifts away from the two immature and irritating gnats to the external conflict. Ms Henke can always get a story filled with danger and excitement going, and that's the only saving grace of this story. Elizabeth and Derrick are two kids playing at grown-up games, and if they have any purpose in life, they serve as a grim reminder of why teenagers should always practice safe sex. Don't procreate until you have grown a brain, kiddies, okay?

Rating: 50

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