Kiss Me, Katie!
by Jill Shalvis, contemporary (2000)
Harlequin Duets, $5.99, ISBN 0-373-44108-8

Hug Me, Holly!
by Jill Shalvis, contemporary(2000)
Harlequin Duets, $5.99, ISBN 0-373-44108-8

Laughter is subjective from person to person. What makes you laugh may make my brain melt in a protoplasmic ooze, and vice versa. But even then, I'd hesitate to send this Harlequin Duets to my worst enemy. Ooze of brains on the floor is not only unsightly, they probably cause the person to writhe in unbearable agony before the brain mercifully shuts down. Jill Shalvis's double combo of ultra-super stupidity is all ditz, all fluff, and no substance. I'm sure even the Dude, Where's My Car? crowd will flee for the exits.

Besides, I should've known. Any book that features a heroine working at jobs she is clearly not capable for just to make me go hee hee hee must be desperately pulling at straws.

Kiss Me, Katie! has Katie Wilkins, Bimbo of the Milky Way, believing herself to be cursed. Her Christmas always end up in ways she perceive as disastrous (ever since she got the wrong toy for Christmas when she was six). Naturally, she has no idea how to get a sex life, much less a social life. Instead of going out with friends to meet nice guys, our heroine does the leapfrogging method of having fun. She decides to kiss the Santa in the office!

If she has a fetish for fat guys, I'm all for it. But this woman is really serious - this will be her Christmas fun. What? Too shy to buy a vibrator?

The guy she kisses is the wrong guy. It's a stunt pilot named Bryan and eeek, Katie hates stunt pilots! (Don't ask.) Bryan is smitten and tries to give her an encore, and our heroine screams. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" she shrieks in her Jamie-Lee-Curtis-in-that-slasher-Halloween-movie impression, actually running down the corridor in terror until she trips and oops, her skirt fell around her head, exposing her Miss Prim panties for the world - and Bryan - to see.

"Pervert! Spying on my panties!" she then shrieks.

Believe me, it's duller than it sounds, because Katie is actually dead serious throughout her all-time humiliation show-all. Does she know how stupid she looks? Doubt it. The story unfurls in a predictable manner - Bryan has to cosset, pamper, persuade, seduce, comfort, and seduce her until she finally realizes that the story is ending. Then it's "Yes, yes, yes!" time.

Give me a break. Excuse me while I scoop my brain off the floor.

Hug Me, Holly! is just as inane. Holly Stone runs an eatery, and guess what? She can't cook! Hee-hee. Ain't that cute. Aw. Let me don my radioactive-shield of an apron for the inevitable Hiroshima of Ditz-factor. Riley McMann is the sheriff who doesn't trust all City Girls because his momma walked out on him when he was a lil' tyke. He lets out his unhealthy Oedipal complex leftovers on Holly, who loves it because this is the first time her ovaries kick into action.

The rest is familiar and as dull as dishwater. Holly burns food, drops glasses, breaks plates, and I'm sure when she bends over to take burnt muffins out of that oven, her brain pops out and falls onto the floor unnoticed. Riley loves such dependency from this city girl, of course - do you think this incompetent chit will walk away from him like Momma did? They marry just in time before Holly burns the whole restaurant down. The end.

I run out of the house and take a big, deep gulp of city-polluted air. Dang, the best fresh air I've ever taken in a long time, just what I need after this braincell-killing affair of a "romantic comedy".

Rating: 18

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