Never Too Much
by Lori Foster, contemporary (2002)
Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-0086-2


I've almost given up on this author, but Never Too Much has me removing her from the guillotine back to the corner where she will still has to wear the silly cap. In Never Too Much, Ms Foster doesn't even bother to have a story, but unfortunately, her idea of sexual games are strictly for the Harlequin camp. Silly, inane, and ridiculous rather than erotic, but readers trying to get rid of their erotic romance reading milk teeth can do worse than to chew on this before moving on to something more genuinely sexy.

Ben Badwin runs a restaurant filled with women who just want a piece of him. The waitresses, the women, all stop and stare whenever he's around. Can't be reassuring when they're supposed to be tending the guests. Ben's the kind you grab your girlfriend and suggest a menage to. Women walk up to him and throw brazen proposition while running their finger down inside his shirt. He wears tight jeans that emphasized the heavy bulge of his ding dong.

He probably emerges from his mother's womb with a ten-gallon cylinder pump at full tumescence and all the nurses and doctors rip each other's stethoscopes out to be the first to deflower our Dionysian baby. "I touched his dong!" the midwife is rumored to have screamed, right before she expired in a blaze of infant-lust induced bliss.

Sierra Murphy is his woman. She is not a virgin. In the Brava New World we live, that means she has been an abused wife. Yes, she doesn't trust men, but she wants Ben. But she won't play. He has to seduce her. But she still won't play. Oops, how did she get naked? Oops, how did he - ooh.

Meanwhile, his mother finds a stud whom women who just want a piece of him. The waitresses, the women, all stop and stare whenever he's around. Can't be reassuring when they're supposed to be tending the guests. He's the kind you grab your girlfriend and suggest a menage to. Women walk up to him and throw brazen proposition while running their finger down inside his shirt. He wears tight jeans that emphasized the heavy bulge of his ding dong. If you realize that I've cut and pasted a previous paragraph, you're right. Because Momma's new boyfriend and her sonny are practically clones. I can make some tacky inbreeding jokes here, but that will be like shooting crippled puppies - too easy.

His mother is inexperienced. She has to be, because in the Brava New World, women can't take control in sex. They can't even have experience.

I have fun imagining Momma and Daughter's future conversations. "Your son did that... *whisper whisper* yes, he did! Squeal! Ohmigod, daddy-in-law did what to your... oh! Momma, let's bond and get on Sally Jessie together!"

But take pity on the men, who have to bear all the responsibilities of awakening the sexuality of half the population of the world on the crown of their amazing Bravarian meat sticks. So Ms Foster, playing Mamma Gaia, lets nature take its course. I've never seen circumstances work so hard to get them both naked. Look, he takes a bath in her place, and oh, he forgets his clothes!

"But we need a plot, Lori," Papa Gaia, also known as Ye Editor, tells her. "Or else those Harlequin Blaze readers will stop reading your books! Maybe we can make them both ex-high school kids who had a secret baby and now he is working at her father's law firm and she wants to seduce him now to lose her virginity (she has amnesia, so she doesn't know that she is no longer a virgin)?"

So Mama Gaia brings in a bad guy. And if the heroine's contrived sexual inexperience isn't annoying enough, having a bad guy browbeat our heroine into being a martyr of her sexuality is worse.

A novel of erotic romance, Mama Gaia happily christens her new tumescent baby, Never Too Much.

But outside the author's palace filled with fawning courtiers and admirers, in the real world, this irony-free, ineptly-plotted, hilariously-stoopid novel is prime unintentional comedy rather than a work that transcends DIY orgasms. In this case, it's not Never Too Much as much as it is never too silly.

But like all works of lurid proportions - just think Jackie Collins - this book will always have its place in the annals of camp, silly, frothy beach reads. It has its moments, only it's one where the hero rips open his jeans... and I almost killed myself laughing.

Rating: 77


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