Under The Covers
by Rita Herron, contemporary (2002)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52488-0


A really irritating brat - yes, that kind of annoying badly-behaved "precious" brat - a dog with flatulence problem, lots of family members, women acting like braindead strippers that aren't like any strippers at all, many dotty old citizens, bumbling thugs with Jimmy Hoffa accents, archaic "gay" jokes -

AAAAAAHHHH!

Phew. Now that's out and over with, seriously, this book crams in all the tired wacko stuff that is already overkilled in too many wacko contemporary romances out there, it is like a tedious exercise of mega-overkill we're talking about here. I find it hard to even be a little amused, and I find myself impatiently flicking the page just to get this whole reading business over and done with.

On the day Abby Jensen, marriage counselor, hits the big time with her book Under The Covers, her husband comes out of the closet and takes off to greener pastures. Worse, he may or may not be a con man, and her marriage may not even be - gasp - legal. Even worse, Lenny here has done some shady deals, and now the shady deals are coming to haunt Abby. And the worst of all? She has to hit the tour circuit, but how is she to do this with no husband in tow? Her reputation will go down the drain. What to do?

And there's more. Hunter Stone, a journalist who is mad at Abby because he was a jerk and so his wife left him, wants to destroy her reputation by writing a nasty piece on her. So here he comes!

Now, Abby's a nice girl, if a bit daft in the head. I mean, Hunter dresses up as a woman, and she doesn't see through that? We're talking about a hero described as some rugged hunk here. You put Hugh Jackman in drag and tell me if "she" doesn't look like a liposuction accident. Then we have Hunter posing as Abby's husband, upon which he becomes the babysitter as Abby runs along to play stripper, bean bag, Xena, Wonder Woman, and Barbara D'Angelis all in one go. Something has to get lost in the whole cacophony, and it's poor Hunter and Abby.

I mean, Hunter's a jerk, but I think he comes around. I think. Abby's dumb as a brick, but she's a nice woman who means no harm. Maybe if this story gives me some space to breathe, I may even start to feel sorry for those two losers. As it is, I'm just trying not to hyperventilate that the Kooky Train here dashes down the rollercoaster of pure wacko madness in hyperspace velocity. Frankly, that's not a very nice experience at all.

Rating: 67


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