Arabesque, $6.99, ISBN 1-58314-334-3
Contemporary Romance, 2002
Meet our heroine Jena Doe. If her name sounds a bit off to you, that’s because it’s not her real name, thank goodness. It’s a play on “Jane Doe”. Jena has amnesia. She doesn’t remember who she is or anything else about her. According to the nice lady Emma Leyden, Emma found Jena unconscious and bleeding on the beach and she took her in. Since Emma is very rich, she decides to let Jena stay at her place until Jena recovers.
Hey, Emma, I have amnesia too! Can I use your sparkly toilet and eat your gourmet dinners too? If you like, I can throw in a few mysterious rashes too if that will get me to sleep in that luxurious guest bedroom.
But the insane hero Lucas “Dorkass” Leyden doesn’t believe that Jena woman. She must be a con! She must be a ho! Because all women are hos! Even his mother, I’d assume.
The mystery of Jena’s identity makes an interesting read, but the author unfortunately chooses to concentrate on Jena’s insecurity issues as she tries to fit in with the Leydens. The fish out of water thing isn’t too badly handled, but it’s perplexing because for so long Dorkass is so irrationally nasty and even abusive towards Jena that I cannot imagine her actually wanting to stay even in the same room with him. The first time he encounters Jena, he grabs her roughly and shakes her as he mouths off his ho-complex nonsense, not even stopping when she is visibly hurting. There will be a few more instances in the future when he will try to invade her personal space and touch her in an aggressive manner during their confrontations. While Jena does a good job holding him back once she is stronger in health, I find it hard to understand her attraction to this jerk. As for him, it’s the typical “she’s a ho but I am so hot for it, it’s her fault, but damn, me so horny, ow ow ow” scenario. What can I say? He’s an idiot.
Instead of some groveling from Dorkass, I get a sudden, miraculous transformation from the frog unfit to kiss my ass to Prince Charming instead once our heroine has satisfied his More-Madonna-than-whore criteria. I don’t understand sometimes why we just can’t send these heroes to therapy instead of forcing our heroines to conform to their twisted standards. Also, as the story progresses, Jena becomes more and more passive and weepy, needing reassurances of love and kisses from Emma, Lucas, and everybody around her. It makes me want to brain her so that she will get another round of amnesia and become interesting again.
Oh well. Dangerous Memories, like all the author’s books that I’ve read so far, is well-written, the writing style always engaging and the pacing never faltering to the end. But problems with the characterization prevents this one from being as enjoyable as those previous books.