LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 0-505-52623-9
Contemporary Romance, 2005
I suppose that it is possible that people will view the author of a book called Workout Sex: A Girl’s Guide to Home Fitness as some sort of walking fratboy party attraction and all the men that encounter the author Alexandra “Lexy” Clark will assume that she’s some sort of ho willing to give out to all and sundry. It’s probably a slow day for talk show hosts that they make fun of her mercilessly because authors of DIY fitness and sex manuals are on the same level of infamy as Paris Hilton. It is also possible, I suppose, that Lexy will be so traumatized by her situation that she will flee to Drake’s Point, California, and buy an inn so that she can live life anew in blissful anonymity.
But I find it really tedious to work my way through a story where Lexy uses her “shameful past” as an excuse to whine and wail her way into a melodrama of nonsensical “Noooo! I can’t have you!” blues. You can replace “sex/fitness manual writer” in this story with “lingerie store owner” or “radio sex therapist” and it’s the same story: a heroine who gets a reputation of being some sex expert when in actuality she’s a fraud, who has all sorts of sexual issues running up and down, trying to find her esteem and finds it eventually, she does, impaled as she is on the hero’s blessed remote control that brings on an exciting, even orgasmic, happy ending.
This is the story of Lexy trying not to get her head spinning three-sixty as she runs up and down trying to keep people from reading the stray copy of Workout Sex in Drake Point while fending off hero Sam Worth’s clunky courtship (“Any position you’d like is okay with me!”). Sam, when he’s not trying too hard to sound awkward in his clumsy “sexy” one-liners, is trying to get a library open in town while hiding his own semi-celebrity status from everyone else. I don’t know. From the start, it’s hard to sympathize with a heroine who is so thin-skinned that she is driven to hiding just because people are making fun of her. It’s even harder when the heroine has so many contrived sexual issues that make her come off like some flawed robotic Romance Heroine Barbie walking and talking blow-up doll that should be returned to the maker for a refund. Besides, both Sam and Lexy whine quite a lot about their D-list celebrity status when they at the same time enjoy the monetary perks of their success, so it’s not as if they are actually in need of healing TLC.
This book has plenty of borderline slapstick romps and comedic scenes that use implausible situations to draw out the chuckles. These would be fine with me if I have to believe that it is so shocking and gasp-worthy for a woman to write a sex/fitness manual. Hmm, maybe they are making fun of her because the contents of the book are shockingly awful and ridiculous? Then again, it can’t be that because the author insists that the book is actually very useful. Fine, even if it is possible to become such an infamous Whore of Babylon by writing such a book, it still doesn’t make sense for Lexy to then flee to a conservative small town where she’ll probably be tarred and feathered if the people living there ever learn of her infamy.
I can’t really get into Sexy Lexy fully because a cynical part of me tells me that Kate Moore isn’t writing a credible love story as much as she is giving me something calculated and tailor-made to romance readers who are so conservative that they will guffaw non-stop in guilty laughter at the radical idea of a woman writing about sex. Other readers could very well find the issues driving the angsts of Sam and Lexy either ridiculous or something that would make better sense if this story is set in 1942 or in some corner of the most ultra-conservative Bible-belted red-state region in present-day. The entire story is contrived from first page to last and I find myself reading a “product” rather than a book, if I am making sense here.