Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81049-2
Contemporary Romance, 2001
He Could Be the One demonstrates that this author should never, never ever write about Big Secret stories. When she writes about big secret plots like her last two books, she makes the books as fun as listening to a jackhammer drill. All thanks to heroines can’t keep secrets without stumbling, stuttering, babbling, and generally coming off like drunk llamas. No secrets in He Could Be the One. I am in heaven, because to be honest, when done right, the author’s screwball routine can be fun.
Be warned though: there are twin heroines in this book. Not the Playboy twins type, but two twin sisters that have the entire neuroses textbook covered between them. Eve Van Dormer is the adventurous one. In Screwball World, do be aware that adventurous is an euphemism for a condition that has the heroine going on for pages and pages trying not to work herself up into a hysteria because she’s going to have sex. Simone Van Dormer is the Frigid Brigid. An extreme Daddy’s girl who has no independent thought other than Daddy Must Be Kept Satisfied, this woman hates change to the point of having a phobia, and she is so cold that she will remind fans of Ally McBeal of that Nelle character.
So if you can’t stand these sort of stories, stay away. You’ll have nightmares of being trapped in a maze, stalked by Frigid Brigid and Neurotic Molly at every corner (the left – it’s Brigid – the right – It’s Molly – aah!), and you will wake up screaming for Jesus. No, I’m not talking from experience.
Anyway, the Van Dormer twins are going to a high school reunion. But their Daddy has offended a mob-boss-type character in the past, and now he fears that his daughters will get into trouble. Also, Eve has an ex-husband who may turn stalker. So Daddy Van Wormer rightfully hires PI Wyatt Culver and his two-hundred pound all-muscle King Kong partner Julian Varga to babysit his daughters. A bit too late for that, don’t you think, Daddy?
Eve and Wyatt had a thing going once in high school that culminated in everyone thinking Wyatt had molested Eve. They found Eve weeping and trembling after all. (It’s the heavy petting – a woman of delicate conditions like Eve and heavy petting don’t mix.) Now, Wyatt is back in her life. Julian will have to settle for Frigid Brigid who will spy on him naked.
He Could Be the One is pretty funny, and I sheepishly admit I laughed at a scene or two. But it relies too hard on the heroines’ kookiness and the heroes’ macho antics to keep it going. No substance, no deep thoughts, just “Hee-hee, see Neurotic Molly and Frigid Brigid jump up and down like popcorn on a hot plate! Ho-ho-ho, see Horny Goat Wyatt and Julian the Stallion try to keep their erections from bursting out of their skintight jeans!” fluff. I wouldn’t complain if the whole darned neurotic thing isn’t so predictable.
I keep waiting for Neurotic Molly and Frigid Brigid to say something or do something that will surprise me. Like, maybe, actually enjoying the sexual chemistry between them and the guys? But oh yeah, we are talking about Screwball Land here, where good rich girls don’t, they definitely don’t, they never ever ever ever, and they never say yes. Maybe it’s time someone try populating Screwball Land with at least two-dimensional characters.