by Susan Kay Law, historical (2003)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-052518-5
A humorless hero that resembles a warty hairy penis if I cross my eye a little and an underdeveloped romance prevents A Wedding Story from being anything more than an attack of the chemistry-free and very annoying. I have a weakness for dashing explorer heroes, but James Bennett can't seem to reach backwards and remove that pickle that is stuck up his bum. More the pity. This could have been a grand road trip, but it ends up neither here nor there.
James and our heroine Kathryn Bright Goodale had a history. A while ago, when Kathryn had recently married Doc Goodale, she met James that just came back from an adventure that probably resulted in that pickle being stuck up his bum. He kissed her because she was so beautiful, and then she kissed him back, only to be interrupted when they heard someone coming. This someone is Doc and Doc later introduces Kate to James as Doc's wife. James immediately assumed that Kate was a faithless woman that cheated on Doc. The fact that Doc treated her like a sack of meat to be ordered around in that short period of time doesn't allow James to maybe consider that Kate might have a good reason to cheat around. No, Doc is his friend. That short time allows him to automatically assume that Kate is a Slut Forever but that doesn't mean that he should assume that Doc was a lousy husband, oh no. That pickle must be poisoning his system with vinegar.
Today, Doc is dead. He left Kate penniless and she decides to approach James to be her partner in the Grand Centennial Race so that she can win the first prize (fifty grand, split two ways). James, however, doesn't want to be partnered with Slut Forever even as he lusts after her. And so they go, bickering and arguing with James generally behaving like a complete crab. He tries to abandon her and he thinks the worst of her - every - single - time. Even when Kate proves that she isn't dumb, she's just inexperienced, he still thinks she is a liability and she slows him down and oh yes, she is a Slut Forever. The entire time he's ordering her around, complaining about her, and just plain whining. James may have a hot body of a muscle-bound young man, but I strongly suspect that he's a very crotchety ancient geezer in spirit.
Ms Law also curiously ignores the Race setting and I never get the impression that James and Kate are in a Race at all. A little sense of travel and direction will be nice, but this story is mostly our hero whining and complaining and grumbling while trying to shake off the heroine and our heroine persisting in banging her head against the wall that is the hero. There is no chemistry between them because it is hard to believe that Kate is attracted to a man that treats her as if she has cooties and he's scared of cooties.
I like heroes with a sense of humor. James, however, is a annoying crab that stinks up the story with his non-stop whinings, bitchings, and unreasonable condescension and judgement on Kate that deserves none of his nonsense. He and Kate are also curiously underwritten with very little of their personality actually coming through in this story. As a result, A Wedding Story has very little about the Race, just as little about the characters, but way too much of James acting like a dimwit that has swallowed a gherkin whole. Uneven and underdeveloped, this book is just not Susan Kay Law on a good day.
This book at Amazon.com
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