by Deirdre Savoy, contemporary (2000)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-168-5

A major spoiler is revealed in this story

Always is a book that really tested my patience. For one, it seems to operate on the principle that it is okay for the hero to treat the Other Woman like dirt because the other woman isn't nice and pure like our heroine. In the prologue, Michael Thorne behaves really badly to poor Monica whose fault was that she tried to make him jealous and she was promiscuous.

That is a warning sign I should have heeded, but I braved on nonetheless, hoping that there would be one moment where Michael would redeem himself. Alas, I should've just done my Irene Cara impersonation to Out Tonight instead - I bet I would have a much more better time than reading Always.

Heroine Jennifer Scanlon and Michael first meet when Michael becomes the unofficial adopted son of the Scanlons (Michael's father was too self-absorbed in his grief over his wife's death to take care of his son - nice). They hated each other like young teenagers would, and when the hormones hit hard, Jenny had this crush on Michael. Alas, they aren't meant to be. Yet.

They meet again as adults when Daddy Rusty Scanlon gets hospitalized. This time, Jenny has a body and face fit to kill, and Michael wants so badly to be killed again and again. But Daddy Scanlon has a Big Secret that will make Jenny very reluctant to say yes to Michael.

So far so good. I am pretty sure Michael will turn out okay, until Monica comes back into the story with a Big Bombshell. The way Michael handles that matter, which is more akin to covering his ass than acting like a decent adult, make me completely lost it.

"It takes two to tango, you stupid bongo! You're a romance hero, of course your sperm will hit bullseye!" I yelled at that twit.

At this point my husband peeked his head in, looking absolutely horrified. "You're pregnant?" he squeaked.

This book almost went flying across the room to hit his face. Lucky me, I am a rational person. "No," I told him instead. "It's a book I'm reading."

I can't help feeling so sorry for poor Monica, who gets labelled everything from female-dog promiscuous-lady to fickle and immature. Michael really shouldn't have treated her the way he did, no matter how much I am told that she deserves it. There's a bitter aftertaste in my mouth after reading Always - what will happen when Jenny isn't pretty or luscious anymore? Will he treat her like he did Monica when he tired of the latter?

Maybe readers more okay to this sort of thing will like Always better. Me, I think Michael deserves a long, long grovel. Alas, that one never came.

Rating: 46

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