All Summer Long
by Judith Arnold, Muriel Jensen, and Bobby Hutchinson; contemporary (2001)
Harlequin Superromance, $4.99, ISBN 0-373-71000-3


Harlequin Superromance's 1000th book! Yay! I'm so excited. That's why this book has been languishing in the book pile since August 2001 and only now am I reviewing it, almost a year later. To commemorate the hagdom of this line, Harlequin ties Judith Arnold, Muriel Jensen, and Bobby Hutchinson to the spoke wheel and whips them into writing this anthology.

Judith Arnold, whose novella Daddy's Girl gets my vote as the most decent of the three, presents the "Single Daddy" story. Hero Kevin Medina mows lawns for a living, but he gets to live in this amazing mansion. (Can I make some jokes about the lawn boy and the wealthy but lonely housewife here? No?) He obviously makes money, but he can't hire a full-time nanny for is one-year old Alex.

Like all stories of this type, the grandparents of Alex - the Dead Wife's parents, that is - want Alex, but Kevin is so torn. What to do? Oh, how about hiring a nanny, for one? But that's just me.

Social service woman Natalie Baines shows up, gets won over by Kevin's clumsy but earnest attempts to take care of Alex, and not only does she approve of Kevin taking care of Alex, she even marries the father.

Uhm, Kevin? Here's a secret: you hire a nanny. You don't marry a woman just to get one.

Still, power to the clichés.

Muriel Jensen contributes Home. Hearth, And Haley, the "Stupid Activist Heroine/I Love My Brother's Best Friend Forever!" story. Bart Megrath has to bail his buddy's sister Haley out of jail. Haley wants to save old buildings, and she's doing it by shrilly shrieking like a loony woman who has God "speaking" to her.

Bart tells her that his parents are powerful politicians. Haley doesn't get it. At all. You'd think an activist will know that the best way to get anything done is to forge connections with powerful people. But Haley doesn't get it.

But heck, she's loved for not getting it.

What the heck, power to the clichés. I guess.

Bobby Hutchinson does Temperature Rising. It's part of her Emergency! series, Emergency! being called that because we all know the ER guys will sue if Harlequin calls its own doc series ER!. After all, Harlequin should know a lot about litigation.

But even imagining Goran Visnjic as Dr James Burke can't arouse anything more than a micron of interest in this story. Busy doctors hardly interacting with each other but "falling in love" or so the author tells me - no thanks. Why else do you think nobody in ER have a decent relationship? Doctors don't have nice family lives unless they branch out into private practice. I appreciate Bobby Hutchinson trying to bluff people into believing that doctors make attentive spouses (more like absent spouses, if you ask me), but she'll do a better job if she gives James Burke and Melissa Clayton more quiet time together to interact.

Anyway, if anyone's interested, well, yeah. All Summer Long - Harlequin Superromance's 1000th book! And they choose to celebrate the occasion by reminding me how good they are in bringing out the worst of the clichés.

Power to the... oh, dang it. I can't fake it anymore. I really don't give a damn. What's on the TV?

Rating: 50


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