Harlequin Temptation, $3.99, ISBN 0-373-25872-0
Contemporary Romance, 2000
People have accused romance novels for not moving on with the times. Nobody Does It Better, even if this is the author’s first book, should have known better. Its plot is the stuff granny keeps in the storeroom along with barrage bras and broken gramophones. Coupled with a heroine who is so clueless and dim it’s surreal, this one makes me wonder just what It is exactly supposed to be. No wait, please, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.
To accept its premise is to accept that at this age and time, women still can’t write a “men’s adventure” book unless they hide behind a male pseudonym. Maybe these books are so bad any author, male or female, would be happy to deny any association with, but the author makes it clear that these books are bestsellers. To accept this plot premise is also to accept that the heroine will lose her contract and all if she comes out and says she’s a woman. And to accept the plot premise of this ridiculous story is also to accept that a woman is stupid enough to create a fantasy man as “her pseudonym made life”, falls in love with that fantasy (narcissism to an art form), and when the hero walks in and claims that he’s the “real author”, she’s stupid enough to even doubt for a moment that she’s not making her fantasy up.
Even putting a 1904 in big red writing at the top of each chapter can’t save me from rolling my eyes up as the story becomes more and more ridiculous in its plot convolutions. Paris Summers, the dunce author in question, treats courtship the way an idiot will pick her nose (stretch your right arm behind and around your head and try to reach your nose from the left side). The hero, Devin O’Malley poses as “Montgomery Alexander” after overhearing our silly heroine blabbing it all to her hip, adventurous best friend in a public place (the twit alert siren is blaring already). I don’t know about you, but if I am stupid enough to get myself cornered the way the heroine does, I would call the cops and haul this sorry impostor’s ass to jail and sue that scumbag for copyright infringement.
Paris trembles. Paris shivers. But she thinks of her non-existent diaphragm and shivers, noooooo, she’s a good girl, she doesn’t have sex unless someone puts a gun (or maybe – a big maybe – a blunt alternative) to her head. She can’t. She won’t. She wants to. But she can’t! She can’t!
Say, Julie Kenner isn’t a pseudonym, is it?