Kiss Me Again
by Dee Tenorio, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-60504-193-9

It's so adorable how foolish folks in love can be. Kira Weston and Ethan Roarke have been separated for six months and counting when the story opens. It's a familiar sad story - she wants a family and kids, he doesn't think he wants them that soon. Ah, but those two clearly have not gotten over each other. He's not dating and he can't sleep, she's turning down the attention of a very cute gigolo solicited for her by a well-meaning friend, and they are both obviously as miserable as can be. But you know how silly these fools can be. They just can't get back together. It takes a case involving a big bad boss having the hots for Ethan and not taking no as an answer to get them back together, and even then, they aren't going to make things that easy for the two of them.

Kiss Me Again is a simple story - with a few circuitous turns here and there as befitting a story of fools in love - but oh my, it is an excellent laugh-out-loud read. One thing that really stands out to me is how the characters in this story have such amusing rapport with each other that flow so fluidly. Oh, I know real life folks don't speak like that - we leave that to the professionals in sitcoms - but at the same time, the banter system doesn't feel artificial. Perhaps that is because I'm too busy laughing to take notice, heh. This is the biggest reason why I have such a wonderful time with Kiss Me Again: it makes me laugh.

But at the same time, there is an undercurrent of solemnity to all that feel-good humor. Even so, Ms Tenorio sneakily makes sure that the serious stuff serves to make Ethan come off a thousand times more attractive as a hero. I can't help it, I'm vulnerable when it comes to good-looking men who can't help remaining faithful to the women they broke up with because they are still hung up on her, especially when these men also hurt inside as they regret how they have let the woman down or taken her for granted during better times. Ethan is such a woobie, he may as well have "Come here and give me a hug, Mom!" tattooed on his chest. As for Kira, she holds her own against Ethan pretty well. She's not irritating, she's not shrill, and she's not too neurotic.

The only aspect of the story I am not too comfortable with is that bitchy boss whom everyone claims to have slept her way to the top. Rita is not a pleasant person, true, but I could have done without all the other aspersions cast on her that are not related to her interest in Ethan. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not fond of successful career women being portrayed as having slept their way to the top or being unpleasant viragoes. This is clearly my real life prejudices seeping into the story, I know, but hey, that's the way the river flows sometimes.

But that's just a minor matter. Kiss Me Again is splendid romantic entertainment - I have a fabulous time from start to finish. Do it again, Ms Tenorio. I insist.

Rating: 89

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