Ask Adam
by Jess Dee, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-600-0


Ask Adam is a very difficult book for me to read because author Jess Dee's writing style - at least the one she uses in this book - is one that I do not like at all. The author uses short sentences that are crisp and easy to understand, yet at the same time I find myself often confused by the motivations of the characters. Too often, I am bewildered when I am reading this story and if I want to bewildered, I would rather be studying a Picasso painting.

Our heroine Lexi Tanner, for example, wants to solicit $50,000 from our wealthy hero AJ Riley as a donation to start up a program for cancer-stricken kiddies in hospitals. Therefore, despite not knowing how the man looks like, she hangs around the hotel where he is staying, bugging the person at the reception counter to tell her his room number or call him up so that she can meet him. She has an official appointment with him in Sydney the week after this, but she is apparently so impatient to meet him now that the two of them happen to be in Melbourne to attend the National Congress on the Psychosocial Affects of Childhood Leukemias and Cancers that she doesn't care how crazy she comes off to the receptionist. Or, who knows, maybe he'll think her strange for stalking him persistently that he will decide against donating even a cent to her. What can I say? She's crazy.

"I've got to do it, Lee. I've got to make the most of this time. Destiny's given me this chance. I'm going to jump at it. Of course, I'll go to the appointment as well. I'd never cancel that." Excitement churned in her belly. "Look, I promise I'll check every word that comes out of my mouth. I will be the paragon of tact and diplomacy, but mark my words. On Wednesday, when I walk into his office, it will not be the first time I meet Mr. Riley. That I promise you."

Definitely crazy.

Failing to get a personal appointment with the man she's going to meet the week after anyway, she trips on a bag in the hotel lobby and flies into the arms of this hot hunk. She doesn't know it, but he's the elusive AJ Riley she is looking for. He knows who she is, on the other hand, and he's been hankering for a piece of her since he first lay eyes on her four months earlier. Of course, he decides that he can't have her because he's lost a woman before and the poor big 36-year old baby will just die if his heart breaks again.

So why did the ripple of her very delectable breasts make his logic take flight?

How on earth can a woman's breasts ripple? In an elevator ride? Are Lexi's breasts made of some kind of gelatinous wobbly material? At any rate, he can't resist the magnetic power of those rippling breasts so he and Lexi end up in bed where they presumably wobble and quiver to their hearts' delight. When morning comes, it's all about him so he decides that he must not see her again (he will die if his heart gets bruised again, remember) so he takes off while she's still asleep.

Imagine the fun that results when they meet again the week after in Sydney. AJ naturally acts like a cruel asshole that make Lexi feel as if she has used her body to get some donation from him when they both know this is not true.

Frankly, the fact that the man apologizes brusquely by the last two pages is not enough for me after sitting through AJ - the A is for Adam, by the way - acting like the biggest jerk that ever jerked since Linda Howard decided to be a respectable romantic suspense author and stopped writing those oh-my-god please-die-asshole big baby heroes who behave with petty cruelty towards the heroine. AJ's antics are even more unpalatable than those of some random Neanderthal Linda Howard heroes because he knows she is not the slut or whore he constantly makes her out to be in front of her face. He's just doing all that because he's this big baby who will die if someone hurts him again.

And really, the only way I will enjoy this book is if someone hurts AJ really badly in this story, preferably by clamping his puny little balls to some electrocuting device and getting an orangutan to go crazy on the buttons on that device while showing the whole thing live over a web podcast. I don't understand why the hero is so bloody freaking stupid or why the heroine bends over backwards to endure his pathetic existence in her life. Sure, she's pretty dim in her own right, but come on. Her love for him comes off more like a Pavlovian reaction to being constantly bullied by him rather than any genuine warm fuzzy feelings of the heart.

Ask Adam is best appreciated by fans of those Neanderthal heroes such as those brainless walking erections in those older Linda Howard books. Needless to say, I'm not one of those readers. Sorry, Ms Dee, but I prefer to see these men castrated rather than wedded.

Rating: 46


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