A Game Of Chance
by Linda Howard, contemporary (2000)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.50, ISBN 0-373-27091-7


A Game Of Chance suffers from what I would call the Rothgar Syndrome. The author is so in awe of Chance Mackenzie, I can't help getting the impression, that the heroine has nothing left for her own personality except as a receptacle for our hero's manly alpha potency. Okay, to put in bluntly, A Game Of Chance is an automatic, no-brainer one-man show of an unrealistically alpha brute plowing down a heroine who hasn't a single iota of bone marrow, much less credibility, in her willowy self.

At four, Chance Mackenzie learns never to trust adults. At puberty, he is a Batman-wannabe neurotic who then happened to chance upon his new foster parents (refresher course is here) at fourteen. Just close your eyes and imagine Chance as some sort of wild, overly-muscled lummox rampaging the steppes, that sort of thing.

Now, Chance is a secret agent (probably can't afford the Batcave). He kidnaps terrorist's daughter Sunny Miller to lure the baddie out of his lair. Never mind that Sunny and Daddy are estranged - Chance decides that she is in cahoots with the bad guys and decides there and then to, uhm, do some really naughty and disgusting things to the woman involving acrobatic positions. Like his daddy, Chance seems to suffer from an abnormally perpetual heat, and Sunny, of course, isn't one for relationships. Her daddy has taught her never to trust, yadda yadda yadda.

But hey, she trusts Chance. She has no idea what is going on until it hits her in the head, right there after the zillionth coital Hallelujahs of her senses. Even then it's nothing more than her continuous succumbing to his manly virility. "More! Oh yes, again, again, AGAIN!" That sort of thing.

Of course, I can't blame her. I'd probably be screaming the same thing if I am in her shoes. Who cares about standing up for myself and keeping the story from becoming a one-man-boink show? Like Kate Bush would sing, "Take a banana (yeah yeah yeah)! And a papaya (yeah yeah yeah!) You like a guava? (yeah yeah yeah)! And a sultana? (yeah yeah yeah)"

But egads, Chance is too morbidly neurotic and emotionless to keep the one man boink show interesting. He has no emotions, fine, but Sunny isn't woman enough to draw out the humanity in him to make him interesting. He remains barely a cut above Neanderthal Penis material, while she remains through and through Cardboard Category Heroine.

But hey, bring on the bananas (yeah yeah yeah) yes? Shake that booty thang, Chancey boy!

Rating: 66


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