Stuck With You
by Trish Jensen, contemporary (2001)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52422-8


Paige Hart and Ross Bennett, lawyers at the opposite side of a divorce case, are arguing when the courthouse explodes. Many people are injured, including Ross and Paige.

If you can get past that premise, what with today's world events and all, you may find, like me, that Stuck With You is a fun, light-hearted romp well-worth savoring. Paige and Ross aren't severely injured, but what happens is that they are taken to the hospital in an ambulance that happens to be carrying the lethal Tibethan Concupiscence Virus. Hey, I've learned a new word today. Concupiscence means "strong desire, especially sexual desire", to quote this book. I will try to use this word in my everyday chat as much as possible.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the TCV. Imagine what will happen if TCV infects a bunch of high school kids? Oh, the horror. They will never finish their Calculus homework. Hence, the CDC wants the TCV contained ASAP. Too bad in the mess, the vials containing the TCV shatter and Ross and Paige now may be infected with the TCV. Uh, oh. Will there be lawyer babies in the future anytime soon?

Ross and Paige are hilarious. They are as cute as buttons together, and the way Ross keeps making all those naughty innuendos - cute! Every gal needs a Ross Bennett in her life, I say. There is also a secondary romance between Paige's jock brother Nick and the doctor Rachel who taught Nick the best bits about Biology in high school. Nick is a sensitive jock who may not be Einstein, but he has enough charm and romantic dash to make up for it. So I'd say we all need a Nick Hart in our lives too.

Stuck With You is filled with cute fun secondary characters too, mostly Paige's family, who are kooky but never irritating. Ms Jensen has a nice warm way with words that makes me at least smile if not laugh. And at the same time it's a pleasure to see Nick and Ross grow from stock Lothario types into somewhat well-rounded guys with charms and vulnerabilities.

But when I'm tempted to give this book a keeper grade, the heroines leave me cold. Rachel the Doctor and Paige the Lawyer are strictly the nitwit, unreal types, you know, heroines with sex and social lives too dysfunctional to be anything but contrived. It's odd and disheartening all at once to realize that while Ross and Nick are growing in character, Rachel and Paige are become more and more stock goody-woody squeaky-clean characters. Squeaky being the operative word more often that I would've liked. A clear case is how Paige draws up a document, couched in legal terms, which basically says "No sex" for Ross to sign. That is hilarious. Ross adds three clauses which basically render the whole document ineffective. That is hilarious too. But then Paige has to sign it, and I shake my head. What is she? Stupid? Then again, both parties are soon breaking every rule in the document they signed, so what can I say? Lawyers - you know you can't trust 'em.

Anyway, Stuck With You is the perfect book for drive my blues away. It's fun, it's frothy, and it leaves a warm, bubbly feel in me. At the same time, however, it is also rather contrived in the formulaic heroine department. That flaw doesn't jettison my enjoyment completely, but it does lower its own standards somewhat.

Rating: 88


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