Harlequin Temptation, $3.75, ISBN 0-373-25860-7
Contemporary Romance, 1999
Ms Devine’s foray into category romance has my interest piqued. How far would she be allowed to go with the erotic factor? Not much, as it seems. Ms Devine’s forte is not in her plotting, if you ask me. Take away the spanking and murder plots, and you get Night Bores, sorry, Night Moves.
Well, there’s a lot of night-moving between heroine Carrie Spencer and Truck McKelvey (the name sounds like a new model of pick-up), but little else. Take away the boinkfest and there’s very little left to hold this story together. The whole aimlessness of the story – plus the unlikable heroine – serves only to put me to my night snores.
Dedicated city girl Carrie Spencer refuses to get tied down with any man with a vehemence. But she lost her job and is now broke, so she returns to the town she never wants to return to. She tries to settle down and meets childhood nemesis-turn-boyfriend. Truck is quite miffed that they had never gotten past foreplay in their previous relationship, and since he’s now the town plumber (go ahead and snicker), he gets the chance to be close to her even as he fixes her plumbing (literally and figuratively).
That’s it. That’s a story in there somewhere, probably short sequences stringed together, like on Day 1, Carrie and friend go underwear shopping. Next day, attend honky-tonky dance. Day 3, argue with Truck and kiss. Day 4, talk to best friend. Day 5, fix the kitchen.
And Carrie is a one-dimensional man-hater whose reason to avoid men starts to sound like a broken down engine after three chapters. Even if one doesn’t want commitment, heck, who’s to stop her from having an affair with Truck? She doesn’t want commitment, so what’s the problem in having a commitment-free affair? But no, she keeps thinking, in italicized sentences Yes no yes no yes no ohyesyesyesyesyes. I think she protests too much, way too much to the point that she overtaxes her use-free mental capabilities. She is so cold and glacial and so determined not to loosen up that she makes her sex sessions with Truck sound positively painful. Reading about their shenanigans at the back of a car and probably everywhere else is akin to waiting at the operating table for someone to cut me open. What’s the pleasure in reading about love scenes when I know there’s little emotional investment on the heroine’s part?
And the ending’s the worst. Let’s just put it this way: the heroine lost her job because her ex takes advantage of her talent to get a promotion. When the ex calls her to help him on a Big Job, she experiences the one true “Ooh mama, oh oh oh!” in this book and drops Truck and everything in her town like hot lead.
Night Bores is right.