Scandalous Again
by Christina Dodd, historical (2003)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-06-009265-3


Christina Dodd's Scandalous Again is like an overly sweetened cheap cake filled with artificial colorings and flavorings. It looks good, tastes good, but upon closer examination, it's not as yummy as I initially thought. Non-stop mental and physical bong-bang-bonk scenes aside, the plot is threadbare, the characterization barely raises above the throbbing pulsing nether regions level, and both the hero and the heroine have little in common apart from their lead-filled skulls and their slot A completing slot B to keep them together outside the bedroom.

All in all, this is Christina Dodd on a bad bake sale day. Half-bake doesn't cover this book. The sex is good, but really, if that's all I want from a romance, may as well take my $6.99 and get myself a bag of chocolate chip cookies instead.

Madeline de Lacy has just been wagered away by her father. Very well. She decides to exchange places with her cousin/companion Eleanor. Timid and reserved Eleanor will pose as Madeline to face the hubby-to-be (how nice of Maddy, I must say) while Maddy will pose as Eleanor and infiltrate the house party of one Mr Rumbelow. Mr Rumbelow is holding his own personal Monaco in his house, and Maddy is certain that her father will attend. She will persuade him not to wager off her tiara, a beloved family heirloom! Later, when she isn't even sure that her father is here, she will nonetheless risk all to get the tiara, only to end up legs spread wide as she is rogered mercilessly in a multi-chaptered epic of the le penetratio des bonkathon.

Then again, it doesn't matter how silly Maddy can get, because in the end, she only ends up asking the hero Gabriel Ansell to help her with the dirty work, and I'm not just talking about the legs-in-the-air, let's-wave-hey thing.

Gabriel used to be her boyfriend. He almost married her, in fact, until he won a lot of money one day and decided to share the good news. Now he doesn't have to worry about his pride being bruised by the girl being richer than he anymore! But she smacked him instead - she hates gamblers like her father, you see, although she loves her father... oh never mind, forget it - and when he rogered her, she fled the country.

Anyway, when you can stop wondering who kidnapped Christina Dodd and replaced her with the Reject Soap Writer from Hacksville, back to the story. So now they meet again. He wants vengeance with Rumblebow, he wants her, she doesn't want him... wait, she does but she doesn't... oh forget it, they have lots of sex, more sex, sex, some more sex, sex, sex, sex, until even the Energizer bunny is jealous of their stamina.

But outside the bedroom, what else is there? I don't find much about these two to savor. He is so alpha, so hard, so petty in his quest to subjugate the heroine - I hate to see what will happen if the wife shows that she is better than him in some way. She is domineering, gung ho, bossy, but putty in the hands of her boyfriend. Oh, and if you can't tell from the plot, she's not too well-endowed in the brain department. Then again, neither is the hero, come of think of it. The sexual tension is hot and cuts like a knife, but then again, so did most of this author's (better) books. Gabriel and Maddy are just two walking sex organs just waiting for a chance or an excuse - any excuse - to bring on the pumpies.

Scandalous Again relies too much on sex to cover up the fact that the main characters have little personality. Their chemistry is more like two mules trying to get the better of the other. I don't even get the impression that these two even like each other. The hero doesn't say the right things - the heroine justifies his actions to herself. But this isn't being politically incorrect as much as shoddy characterization at work in a half-baked plot.

And if you actually spare a thought and wonder what happened to Eleanor, the stupid girl who is now on her way to face her cousin/employer's Captain Shark, her story is next.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that Ms Dodd finds a better plot on her next excursion into merry old England.

Rating: 59


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