Some Enchanted Evening
by Linda Devlin, Sandy Moffett, and Deb Stover; paranormal (2002)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7264-3


This a Halloween anthology, and unsurprisingly, it deals with magic, time travel, and ghost (one in each novella). The stories vary in quality from outright painful to just okay if forgettable, all stories being unforgivably stupid in one way or the other. Maybe these authors believe that they are being cute, but my cute barometer doesn't work like everyone else's.

Dr Romano's hand getting helicopter-rotored is the epitome of cuteness to me in an otherwise painful hour of ER (unless someone warns me beforehand of an All Naked Luka episode, even my TV husband Goran is not going to keep me watching the All About Abby and Carter Whining Show anymore). Lorelai Gilmore rendered mute forever in Gilmore Girls, making it the Emily, Paris, Lane and Sookie Show, is beyond precious... wait, that episode never happened. Drats. (And yes, I love Sookie now. Funny how she has grown into a more likeable adult while Lorelai has degenerated into a selfish, spoiled, petulant lil' girl, isn't it?)

Anyway, I digress. I should be rambling in the TV section. Sorry. What am I saying again?

Linda Devlin starts off the spooky show with a novella all about horny ghosts in Haunted Honeymoon. John and Tessa Travis are starting off the honeymoon of their arranged marriage in the wrong way: their love motel is actually a haunred house. Tessa, a 19th century lass, is dutiful, hiding her love for John, until John wonders what happened to the vivacious gal he knew when they were teenagers.

John and Tessa have something good here, as the author develops their slowly unfurling bond and passion very well. But she has to ruin it by putting matchmaking ghosts who aren't above interrupting our couple boinkin' with their nonsense. Nice, ghosts watching people boinking. People, you've been warned. Get an exorcist to cleanse your bedroom before you and your loved one get down to biz-nes - Ms Devlin is tellin' y'all so, so you better listen, okay?

"Hey, Father, I know it's 3 am, but me and John are getting rather... frisky, so can you come over to our bedroom and say some 'hail Mary' and do that water sprinkling thing? Hurry, Father, we're wantin' it bad... hello? Father? Hello?"

Then comes Sandy Moffett's Bewitching. Our witch Constance Sedgewick is coming into her powers... and now she needs to bonk a man or lose her power forever! Oh no, can she bonk a man whom she has fallen in love with but doesn't want to bonk for the sake of bonking? (I know, I'd happily bonk a cute guy if we're both willing and available, but Connie's a romance heroine. She can't bonk for the sake of bonking.) After Stefan has bonked her, then she can't marry him because he never says that he loves her! (Then why bonk then you stupid ding... oh never mind.)

Stupefyingly obtuse heroine and a wretched hero who deserves better make this story barely palatable, but when I factor in the insulting premise, this story isn't even fit for my puke bucket. Excuse me, I don't see any stories about male virgin wizards needing to have sex NOW or lose his powers, so why do we women have to get the royal shaft in the braindead plot department? The message here, brought to you by Sandy Moffett, is that a woman can't be all-powerful unless she has a man completing her literally in all ways possible.

I'm so inspired, I'm gonna get me my own royal harem and have sex with virile young men every day, every hour. That way, I'll be all-powerful, I'll smite all bad romance novels to dust and force their authors to sell Avon cosmetics to pitchfork-armed Amish folks.

Finally, the saving grace of the bunch - Deb Stover's Citizen Daisy. It has promise, right before the story veers off into mouth-opening tomfoolery. Daisy Peabody, a 19th century lass, is surprised when 21st century guilt-ridden politician Jack McCullough falls literally into her life. He wants to go home, but first, he has to live out some adventures that revolve mostly around saving Daisy from herself. Daisy and Jack seems like intelligent folks at first, but Daisy becomes more and more a neurotic Daddy's girl that weeps at the drop of a hat while making stupid decisions, while Jack becomes equally ridiculous as he praises martyr-friendly Daisy as brave and daring and intelligent.

This one's not bad compared to the other two, but it tries so hard to be "cute" and "likeable" (ie making the heroine a ridiculously selfless "Please Daddy Until I Die" dingbat) that it creaks and shudders under the weight of its own contrivances.

Still, some consolation points have to be given to a story with a line like "Congressman asphyxiated by mutant mammaries".

Okay, I really don't think these authors should spend the rest of their lives selling Avon cosmetics to vicious Amish boogeymen. Maybe they should just shampoo vicious bulldogs instead. You know what's the biggest disappointment here? Deb Stover and Linda Devlin's stories actually start out good and fun, before they go all weird and start trying too hard to imitate bad stand-up comics. Some Enchanted Evening is more like an evening staring in horror at handsome, shaggable hunk (you even have three boxes of Trojan just for this evening) snorting like a hysterical bullmastiff as he pokes straws up his nostrils and snorts booger into his soup. At one point, one will wish he or she can turn back the clock and spend the evening doing something more palatable, like scrubbing off the stubborn stains of the toilet bowl.

Rating: 49


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