by Kayla Perrin, contemporary (2005)
Avon, $12.95, ISBN 0-06-058709-1
I don't know why this book is published under Avon's chick-lit trade paperback imprint. Wait, maybe I know why. The hero is married to another woman when he puts his hand down the bra of the heroine, so I suspect that the people involved in the production of this book decide that it's best to pass this book off as chick-lit rather than to see it torched to cinders by romance readers. The thing is, everything about this book is strictly mediocre romance, right down to the cop-out justification for the romance between Mr Married and Ms Single here.
Lecia Calhoune is a sex therapist. Because this is a crappy romance, naturally Lecia has issues with her own sexuality. Is this where I make a wisecrack joke about extrapolating this "sex therapist is a flop in bed" thing to romance authors being a flop in romance? Still, being a frigid Brighid somehow allows Lecia to publish a book, Gimme An O!, that teaches women how to empower themselves by getting them to have orgasms in multiples of, er, multiples. It's like Michael Jackson publishing a book on good daycare practice, come to think of it. Something bad is going to happen, I can feel it.
This is where our hero Anthony Beals, an NFL quarterback (NFL quarterbacks in African American romances are the new Navy SEALs - these creatures are everywhere), comes in. He and that hooker? Really, it's just a misunderstanding. He actually wants to help her, not to get her to help him, heh. But when the photos of him and that hooker hit the tabloids, his brand new wife leaves him and hits him with a huge settlement suit as per the conditions in their Catherine Zeta-Jonesian prenuptial agreement. Thinking that his wife is inspired to leave him after reading Gimme An O!, Anthony decides that the only way he can get his wife back is by demanding that Lecia tell his wife to hear him out and come home. Wait, a woman needs to learn from a book before she can make up her mind to leave a cheating no-good son of a bitch?
When the wife goes missing, these two embark on a road trip to have sex and solve the mystery. The end.
Of course, the wife in question is actually a cheating, lying slut of a ho, the usual. Instead of actually trying to develop a realistic romance, Ms Perrin pulls out all the ridiculous clichés for her story. Frigid sex therapist, men with self-entitlement issues, evil slut ho caricature, lame suspense, and the author's utter obliviousness as to how ridiculous her story is. Nowhere in her book does she even try to make all her clichés reasonable. She's just putting down those clichés for size. "Oh, the clueless sex therapist thing? That's so hawt! I'll take it! The evil ho wife? Who cares how it looks on the hero to have him so blind to her real nature, it makes the whole storytelling so much easier on me - I'll take five! And about that forced proximity enforced by a road trip plot device..."
While this book isn't a complete Gimme A Zero!, its overreliance on tried-and-true overused clichés brands it as what it is: another so-so unmemorable story cobbled together from bits and pieces of books that I have read so many times before. Gimme An O! is a heavily padded banal Harlequin Temptation book masquerading as a chick-lit trade paperback. This book is brought to you by the letter O but unfortunately, today's word is not Originality, or even a quarter of it.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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