Devil Of A Chance
by Cheryln Biggs, contemporary (1996)
Loveswept, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-44553-7
I can honestly say that this is the first time I've come across a romance novel where the cop hero pushes the private investigator heroine away because he doesn't want to get involved with a woman whose job can get her killed at any moment. Yes, you've read that right: a cop is doing his best to make the heroine hate her because he can never, ever love a woman who can die on him because he can't bear the pain, boo-hoo-hoo. There is nowhere in this story that Cheryln Biggs displays any awareness at how ridiculous this premise is.
Not unexpectedly, the hero, Lt Chance Reitchelle, is the most ridiculously selfish person I've met. It's all about him. Everything is about him. To make him even more loathsome, he is a misogynist pig. The husband of our PI heroine Kelly Garritson ran off with his secretary. Chance is this husband's friend so he should know what happened to Kelly, but instead he insults Kelly's ability even before he sees her in action and compares her unfavorably to this wonderful ex of Kelly! They are thrown together to investigate a rash of horse-kidnapping in New Orleans. After pulling that irritating "all women are useless" card, Chance then proceeds to do his best to drive Kelly away from him because he is attracted to her and, seeing that she's a PI and she can get killed, he can't have that, being the macho man that he is. It never occurs to him that the same argument can be used to apply to him, a cop. Chance, however, isn't the kind of man to think of anything other than himself.
Kelly, of course, gets played like a violin, piteously whining that she loves him but oh, he hates her, boo-hoo-hoo. I'm amazed by the fact that these two spend more time playing childish games of love when they are actually charged to investigate a kidnapping spree (don't worry - the evil slut, as usual, is behind everything). Hello, anyone remember the horses? And after so many pages where Kelly insists that she is as good as any man, she spends the entire time during the Grand Denouement waiting to be rescued and when she is rescued, she tells Chance that she knows he will come and save her. How disgusting! If Ms Biggs actually believes that this will in some way actually justify Kelly's strengths and abilities, she needs to think a lot more before she writes.
Everything about this book - ridiculous conflict to keep the hero and heroine apart, the hateful hero devoid of self-awareness, the utterly useless heroine, the overwhelming stupidity of the "I must make her hate me because I can't let her know I have a huge hummer for her" nonsense - is a total pain. Devil Of A Chance can go straight back down where it came from.
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