Joyride
by Colleen Collins, contemporary (2002)
Harlequin Temptation, $3.99, ISBN 0-373-25967-0


Colleen Collins can write about the dumbest heroines ever, but she always does it with style. I mean, she is probably the only author in existence that has her hero talking to those shaky-ugly toys you stick on the car and not have me shaking my head in disbelief. Worse, the hero Leo Wolfman names his toy Voodoo - VD for short.

Corinne McCourt is the usual proper heroine who one days wraps herself up in plastic wrap for her boyfriend Tony's return. That woman obviously haven't read or watch Fried Green Tomatoes. Imagine her shock when she finds Tony and his girlfriend - girlfriend! - coming home for some nooner. When the girlfriend mistakes her, Corrine, Tony's wife in all but name (hey, she does all the housework after all), for a maid, she loses it.

She jumps into Tony's Ferrari, and never looks back. This is the Joyride, yeah baby!

Lucky for her, she has everything a ditsy screwball heroine needs to survive the day: the token gay best friend who comes along with an assortment of chi-chi love advice and a skanky wardrobe and the token slutty cousin Sandee. Sandee has to flee for reasons best left to the readers' own discovery (yes, it's that silly), so Corrine takes over Sandee's place as the moll in the boxing ring. She'll be the girl wearing almost nothing holding up numbers signifying the rounds.

I know I'm reading fiction when Corrine can slip into a tiny triangle bikini bottom without having to undergo painful bikini wax treatment. Even better, she, with her hair down and clothes off, is hotter than hot, va-va-voom on legs, and totty-friendly to boot. Bitch.

Leo is on a stakeout involving Sandee's boyfriend, and he mistakes Corrine for Sandee. Stakeout soon becomes steak-out as these two soon go at it hot and heavy. It's good for them, but well, for me, I scratch my head a little. Corrine wants to have sex because he's hot and a complete antithesis of her boyfriend - I think - but Leo is on shaky grounds as he is sleeping with a woman he suspects of abetting a criminal. Unless it's in the cops' protocol book to prostitute oneself for truth, justice, and liberty (where do I sign up?), Leo is really on shaky grounds here.

Corrine bewilders me. There are times when she seems like Thelma on crack, and her take-life-by-the-horns philosophy has its charm. But the author's attempts at Corrine's tender moments - such as Corrine's yearning for a baby - seems false and contrived. And then there are those stupid git moments. Ugh. Likewise, Leo's angst about his junkie ex-wife becomes repetitious the hundredth time the author brings it up.

All in all, this book has its charms, and I really like the wrestler lovelorn admirer who bakes delicious brownies. But at the same time, the humor isn't as tip top as it should be, and there isn't just enough interesting characterization to balance the over-the-top zaniness of the story. Joyride, sadly, ends up neither here nor there.

Rating: 68


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