Dream Mountain
by Gena Hale, contemporary (2001)
Onyx, $6.99, ISBN 0-451-41003-3


I once wrote a parody in the soapbox where I had this heroine shooting her attacker and then feeling so guilty that she starts making him hot chocolate and bandaging his wounds. I never thought there'll be a day when I encounter a book with a heroine that makes my own heroine look like a Nobel Laureate. Forget Cherry Adair's Hide And Seek, which I thought was bad. This book, Dream Mountain, makes Hide And Seek look like a Pulitzer prizewinner.

The only thing good about it is that it is only 239 pages long. Then again, for $6.99, I guess I won't feel any worse if they put a "Hiya, sucker!" on the opening page for me to read. I just paid $6.99 for the mother of all bad Silhouette Intimate Moments (apologies to all SIM authors, you don't deserve this, I know).

The danger from Paradise Island, according to the back blurb, is back to break another couple apart. Well, if the danger here is the Twin Evils of Bad Characters and Worse Character Motivations, I'd say they got that one danged right. The characters are carbon copies of the moron twosome in Paradise Island.

Mr Secretive - I call him that because readers aren't supposed to know much about him until later - is hiding from bad guys in the woods. One day, he spots a beautiful young woman that makes him horny. Our intelligent, smart, super talented, super skilled agent's conclusion can't be wrong: this slut must be a ho sent by a bad guy to tempt him! Slut! Whore! Bitch! I have heard of guys into the Whore fantasy, but this is one for the loonybin asylum, if you ask me. What our hero, who is skilled in spying and tracking skills, does is to wear a bear rug over him and rummage through our heroine's trash. Please don't ask.

Delaney "Laney" Arlen is left alone in this cabin by her uncle. Apparently those two plan a cozy twosome together... er, that sounds awful, I know, but I still don't really know exactly why Uncle will take Laney along for a dangerous mission involving bad people. Anyway, that's not important. I mean, I'm a romance reader, haha, what do I know, huh? I failed high school, live in a trailer, and I eat chocolates every day while I watch Oprah and cry when she tells me how she spend $10,000 on a weekend spa program. What do I know about plot and logic?

Laney shoots the bear. Omigod! It's a man! A man who has been rummaging through her trash and jumping at her like a mad bear when he sees her, but it's a man! She shot a man! Oh God. She takes him in, nurses him, lets him boss her, lets him think she's a slut sent to tempt and skank him (what will she do, rape him?), all without caring much whether she is harboring a criminal or worse. I mean, hey, I'm sure guys in forests wear bear rugs everyday and rummage through my trash. I think I saw that on Fox's When Animals Attack.

Seriously, am I supposed to find a man who thinks all woman are out to boink him a catch? Am I suppose to melt and ache all over when he sees her mouth and the first thing he thinks about is making her fellate him? Oh, I do, I do, oh I really do! I just remember I live in a trailer park and I live for abusive relationships. Oh, now all I need to do is to hope that poor Laney will endure long enough to show our hero she is Worthy Of His Love.

And what's with the author's preoccupation with the hero's impregnating the heroine as some sort of romantic gesture? Is this some leftover from some alien culture the author writes about in her sci-fi books?

Gosh, Dream Mountain. What a mess. Brainsuck Mountain is more like it.

I don't usually comment on excerpts of future books too, but this one is precious. In book three, Sun Valley, it's the same nonsense all over again. Hero sees heroine in tight-fitting, revealing clothes, and immediately assumes that she is a slutty car thief who wears revealing, tight fitting clothes on her stints. What the... oh, okay. Me. Trailer park. Stupid. I'll shut up now and reach for another chocolate to satisfy my sexually-deprived existence.

Rating: 07


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