Private Fantasies
by Janelle Denison, contemporary (1998)
Harlequin Temptation, $3.75, ISBN 0-373-25782-1


Reading this book reminds me of the chorus of the song recently covered by Sixpence None The Richer. "There she goes, there she goes again!" Okay, that song's about the joys of heroin and I'm using the two lines out of context here, but that's how I feel about this story.

No matter how red hot sexy and darned blooming wonderful the hero Kyle Stephens is, he can't rescue this story. Private Fantasies is tainted by a heroine who is so predictably stereotypical that she makes PMS sounds like a three-year vacation in Bali.

Jade Stevens doesn't trust any man after a bad Past - three years ago! - and she isn't happy when the postman keeps confusing her mail with those of hunky Kyle next door. After all, one's in 312 and the other lives in 321. This woman thinks Kyle is the sexiest thing since ice cream, but she is not ecstatic when he starts making the move on her.

Instead of calling the shrink and scheduling estrogen therapy for this deluded woman, Kyle buys her journal in a yard sale. In it Jade has written all her erotic fantasies, which Kyle proceeds to fulfill.

And instead of flying straight to seventh heavens, Jade acts as if she's made to undergo lobotomy. She's an agony to read. She dithers, wrings her hands, sprouts her "I hate men, they're untrustworthy and useless!" mantra non-stop, and psychoanalyzes everything to death. It takes Jade 100 pages before painfully consenting to an affair (you'd think she has just agreed to donate her liver).

And along the way I get the usual jealous-over-other-imaginary-women-in-his-bed nonsense, the necessary I-don't-trust-you-but-I-don't-mind-ogling-you-but-I-still-hate-men protests, and who can forget the three-year period of celibacy and abstinence from dates all category heroines must undergo as a rite of baptism into Orgasm Valley?

Yes, Kyle is sexy, Kyle is just simply a dream. Hence, he is too good for a frigid broomstick like Jade. Ms Denison's second name is Sexual Tension and she can sure create Dream Hunks, but she has a long way to go in creating interesting heroines. Poor Kyle. After all the hard work he has done in battering down Jade's defenses... for the sake of the poor man I hope Jade is worth the 217 pages of trouble.

Rating: 60


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