by Amanda Jean Kelly, contemporary (2006)
Phaze, $3.00, ISBN 1-59426-497-X
Amanda Jean Kelly, who is one half of the writing team that uses the pseudonym Cassidy Kent, presents a short erotic romance In Ruins. While I'm all for a hot and sexy romantic adventure set amidst the ruins of the Mayan Luchitak Temple in Belize, this story is only 21 pages long. I don't know why this story can't be expanded a little bit more because there is no way the characterization and plot are even halfway fleshed out.
Raul Ignacio is looking for the Yeccijil's Staff but alas, the fundings of his archeology expedition are gone and he's now forced to step back and watch as a disliked rival steps in to take over. Heroine Theresa Tustin also wants to find the staff to make her mark as an archeologist. These two end up working together even if they aren't sure whether they want to kiss or strangle each other.
For a while, these two seem like rabid enemies. They aren't acting like school kids too embarrassed to admit that they like each other so they pull each other's hair instead, mind you, they treat each other with apparent genuine dislike since she is always sneering and mocking at him while he behaves like he's this close to losing his temper and start gnashing his teeth at everybody. And then they are having sex and it's love, the end. I suppose everything has to be rushed when the story is 21 pages long.
This kind of story better has some really good sex to make it worth the reader's time, right? Well, the sex only takes place late in the story and it's surprisingly vanilla given that the story is rife with potentially explosive elements of pagan sensuality.
I suppose books like In Ruins make sense from the points of view from the publisher and the author since short books are quickly done and put out with minimal effort - easy money, in other words. But what's in it for the reader? In Ruins has so pitifully few sex scenes to make up for its short length and barely-there plot. What is the point of this book, then? I suppose one can say that buying this book will keep $3.00 from being spent on some McDonald's cheeseburger, so perhaps this book will be a great dieting aid. I don't know.
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