Raleigh In Rio
by Cassidy Kent, contemporary (2006)
Phaze, $3.00, ISBN 1-59426-498-8


Cassidy Kent's Raleigh In Rio is a simple story. After discovering her soon-to-be ex-husband in bed with another woman, Raleigh Campbell dumps his sorry behind and she's now with her friends in Rio de Jeneiro just in time for her thirtieth birthday. While ogling people at the Samba Parade - it seems like everyone there is beautiful, half-naked, and willing to do anything with anybody so maybe I should see how soon I can get myself on a flight to Rio - she spots a hunk in a Zorro-themed outfit doing the bump and grind with two easy ladies. I know, the Zorro thing is pretty cheesy and unimaginative, but hey, at least the costume works. His name is Cristo Santiago and he's actually a PI assigned to check up on Raleigh since her husband Richard is suspected of - yup, you guessed it - embezzling funds from his employer. Why is it that every cheating husband is also an embezzler in this kind of stories, I will never know. At any rate, you can guess that Cristo will certainly be inspecting Raleigh up close and personal soon enough.

While pretty much everything in this story is familiar, the fact that Raleigh ends up getting turned on by the fact that Cristo has been spying on her all this while and therefore he knows everything about her is something new, heh. Cristo is pretty sweet as he falls headlong in love with Raleigh without much resistance although personally I don't think he'll make a very good PI since he's the fellow that sleeps with and falls in love with the person he's investigating. Raleigh is a pretty enjoyable heroine since she knows her priorities and she certainly is smart enough to know that it's pointless and a waste of time to create a fuss over Cristo investigating her no-good soon-to-be ex-husband. I like a woman who knows when a man is not good enough for her and moves on to a better man who appreciates everything about her.

However, I wish the sex scenes are hotter. I know, I sound like a depraved person saying, but come on! We're in Brazil, the land of hot bodies and unbridled hedonism if stereotypical perceptions of people in that country are anything to go by, so why aren't there plenty of unbridled and excessive rumpy-pumpies that defy gravity and bend the laws of physics? The love scenes in this book are very traditional if I compare them to some other stories out there where sometimes even the whole neighborhood and more are invited to the party and they are also very short to boot. What a waste. It's like being told that I will be watching a dirty movie featuring Raoul Bova only to learn once the movie has started that Raoul Bova will only be making a clothed cameo towards the end as a policeman who will come and arrest everybody in the movie for making too much noise and disturbing the neighbors. We're in Brazil, Ms Kent. Why aren't you capitalizing on the decadent sensuality of the setting?

Rio In Raleigh is a pleasant short story to kill ten or fifteen minutes with an added bonus of a likable heroine and a hero who admirably sticks to his mission even as he's sticking his, er, you know, into you-know-where of you-know-who. But without the added sensual boost in the love scene department, this is one story that could have been easily set in, say, some boring place in Wisconsin with the Samba Parade being replaced by some local pageant event and nobody will blink an eye. The next time we head over to somewhere like Rio, Ms Kent really has better bring it on in the hot-mama-samba department or I will feel cheated and want my money back.

Rating: 76


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