Bad Boys In Black Tie
by Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, and Morgan Leigh; contemporary (2004)
Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-0774-3


Kensington's Pocket Money for Romance Authors Fund, also known as the Bad Boys anthology series, is touch and go where each book is concerned. Bad Boys In Black Tie is in the "touch and drop and ask for a refund of one's time" category. The theme seems to be the heroes pretending to be someone the heroines imagine them to be in order to shag them silly, although "theme" in the case of a Bad Boys anthology is as specific as anything these authors pull out from their shapely behinds. What makes this anthology annoying though is that most of the conflicts in the novella are much ado about nothing.

Lori Foster's Good With His Hands is another story recycled from the author's not-too-vast repertoire. Two neighbors determined to remain friends - no sex please, we're Brava characters - until Pete Watson hears Cassidy McClannahan moaning from her room in the house next to his (my, what fine ears you have, Mr Wolf...) and charges into her place. The sight that awaits him, oh my goodness. That poor gerbil! Seriously, he charges into her place, realizes that he's wrong about the reasons of her moaning, and they give in to their sexual attraction. And then it's love. Only Cassidy doesn't think that Pete is her type, so Pete must convince her that he is. Or something. Since these two are romance novel characters, I guess the idea of shagging for the sake of two best shagbuddies shagging like nobody's business is unthinkable. You have sex, oh no, it's love and nothing else. Or something. For what it's worth, this is another Lori Foster novella that is very similar to her last few novellas. Fans or non-fans will know which way the dice roll for them, I'm sure.

Erin McCarthy's Miss Extreme Congeniality is about two FBI agents who are rivals at the workplace but they are crazy about each other nonetheless. Or at least, CJ White is the one that can't get Wyatt Maddock out of her head. He proposes that she sleeps with him for one night, she agonizes over the decision but decides to go ahead anyway, and they both decide that it's love. Like Cassidy above, CJ thinks that Wyatt is not the Mr Right material however, so it's up to Wyatt to convince her that he is. But CJ has secrets that she is certain will drive Wyatt away. Oh no, can love endure?

To be honest, I don't really care. Somehow the idea of two FBI agents getting all worked up over their hormones and doing all sorts of nonsense as a result isn't so funny anymore considering how the world is today. This is one story that is the case of one plot used one time too many already. The only FBI agents I don't mind seeing shagging each other's brain out are Fox Mulder and Dana Scully and even then Chris Carter has ruined that 'Shipper fantasy, that bastard. So no, Ms McCarthy, we need a profusion of new ideas please.

Morgan Leigh's Last Call sees bar singer Tess Braeden and mayor Fletcher Graham catching each other's eye while she is singing. While the sex may be good, alas, Fletcher is the mayor and Tess has a good reason - or so Ms Leigh believes - to hate Fletcher. Can Fletcher convince Tess that he's the one?

By this time I'm so sick and tired of all these men coddling and pampering those silly women for the most ridiculous of reasons that I am just turning the pages just to get the story over with.

And then Bad Boys In Black Tie is done. Come to think of it, so am I.

Rating: 50


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