Ports Of Call
by Sally Fairchild, contemporary (1999)
MIRA, $5.99, ISBN 1-55166-505-0


Warning: If you get jet lag or travel sickness, read this book cautiously as every two pages the location changes all over the Northern Hemisphere.

There, having done my civic duty, onto the book. This book is more in the vein of Jackie Collins-lite in that the romance between the two leads never take place until the last few chapters. Instead I am subjected to a lite-dose tour of the Northern Hemisphere (lucky the two leads and their buddies are millionaires - I shudder to think of the air flight expenditure they incur every year). Adriana Falcone, recently widowed (her hubby was *groan* a much older man), has inherited the grand Falcone Line of cruise ships. The silly woman doesn't even know she is on the verge of bankruptcy. All she knows is that someone is out to to sabotage her business and even kill her. She is also attracted to her rival, Thorne Weston, who wears her late hubby's missing ring. Intrigued, she flies of to Rome (hubby's homeland) to discover why Thorne is wearing that ring.

That's it really. These two people fly here and there a lot. All the while they generate as much electrifying passion as my toilet bowl. Thorne and Adriana hardly meet, and when they do, Thorne says things that any woman would see as ground for a sexual harassment lawsuit. Silly Adriana only shiver with righteous anger and passion. Ho hum.

For shipping magnates, these two people have lots of free time, especially Adriana. Paperwork, decision-making, meetings, networking, negotiations... non-existent unless the plot calls for it. These people are on a perpetual vacation.

It doesn't help that if the two lead characters are as colorless as faded wallpaper, the storyline is nothing short of boring. It's basically a patchwork of go-here, fly-there, ah-we-meet-again-let's-bicker! paragraphs. Thorne wants Adriana's company and he will get it. Silly Adriana, in the grand tradition of wimps, hasn't a clue about anything. And in the end, Adriana marries him and gives him her company. Oops, I revealed the ending. Still, Adriana's a wimp.

Come to think of it, the center stage romance in this book isn't between Thorne and Adriana, but between Thorne's assistant Luke and Thorne's another assistant-and-mistress Nevada. They are the ones who should get the main billing if you ask me as I see more of their relationship than the two jet-setting main characters. Nevada is a die-hard commitment-phobic love-'em-leave-'em woman who, in the grand tradition of clichéd storytelling, turns into a clone of wimpy Adriana in the end. Cop-out.

This book is mildly readable, but it doesn't even leave a dent in my memory. On to the next book.

Rating: 21


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