Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-268550-6
Historical Romance, 2019
Briar Bourne is not happy because she is the useless one among her family when it comes to running the Bourne Matrimonial Agency.
Yes, you read that right – the author somehow thinks it’s a great idea to let people think that she is writing a series revolving around matchmakers who are actually super-human spies that can rip the jaw off anyone that looks at them funny. Sadly, Ten Kisses to Scandal is not that kind of story; rather, it’s a throwback to the author’s early Avon Impulse days when she decided to see just how far she could push her imbecile heroines down her readers’ throats without causing these readers to mass-stampede to the nearest cliff like a bunch of desperate lemmings.
Seriously, what happened? After the author’s last few books in the Avon Impulse line, I was thinking that the author and me could be friends. Clearly, that isn’t meant to be.
Oh yes, Briar. So, when the story opens, she decides to show her family that she too has some brain. So a simple carriage ride into the night turns into a prelude in some horror movie that normally delivers a happy ending in which the idiot woman gets shredded by Jack the Ripper or something, but alas, in this one it just sees the author cheerfully showing me, with glee, that Briar is indeed an imbecile. What really kills me is that the author knows and is deliberately making the heroine stupid – she is even mocking Briar in the narrative at places – and thus, she expects me to revel in the heroine’s rain dance of dumb and dumber.
Our heroine eventually stumbles upon a cab, in which our hero Nicholas Blacklowe, the Earl of Edgemont, is dry humping his “lackluster tryst”. Stupidity and syphilis collide in a beautiful flash that allows me to see my life passing before my eyes as these two bicker and argue like children right before she steps right in front of traffic and has to be saved by him. This leads to some sexy molestation, of course, that leaves the both of them oh so horny.
By the way, Nicholas is forty and Briar is twenty, and they are behaving like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in a pornographic version of a Looney Tunes episode.
We cut to six months later, when Nicholas’s syphilis is at its advanced stage and Briar has choked to death from accidentally swallowing her tongue while taking a deep breath… oh wait, that is just a pleasant fantasy of mine. Six months later, Briar’s career as a matchmaker tallies perfectly with her IQ, culminating in her matchmaking a woman with her son. Meanwhile, Nicholas is trying to get his cousin to marry the woman he had boinked once upon a time so that the cousin, not he, will have to pay the piper – ladies and gentlemen, our hero – but that whore (the woman, that is, not the hero – romance heroes cannot be whores, silly) had dumped the cousin Daniel and now Nicholas is trying to set the cousin up with someone or something. Briar’s friend who is also Nicholas’s cousin and Daniel’s sister wants Nicholas to be set up too while Nicholas also wants this friend, Temperance to be set up and I JUST WANT TO GET OFF, KILL ME NOW ARGH.
Oh, and Briar wants Nicholas to show her the sexy moves so that she understands the true meaning of attraction – apparently this will surely help her improve her matchmaking skills, and don’t ask me how that even makes sense. He wants to be allowed to put the moves on her in return – ladies and gentlemen, our hero – and she’s like, well, why not, since she’s never planning to fall in love and hence, there will be no consequences whatsoever and I really, really, really want to dunk this book in holy water to see whether it would explode in flames.
Okay, the author tries to give Nicholas an epiphany about his POS ways a few chapters before the last, but frankly, by that time it’s way too late and everyone in this story should just be doused in kerosene and set on fire. Okay, except for poor Daniel, who makes me cheer when he tells off Nicholas for being a complete waste of ink on a page. His only crime is not being a lunatic that will pull a Leatherface on all the other characters in this story.
It’s still early in 2019 but Ten Kisses to Scandal is already ahead out of the gate by a huge margin to be the worst read of the year. Will it stay on top by the end of the year? God, I hope so, because I don’t want to imagine what will happen to my blood pressure if I ever read anything worse than this.