The Jock
by Jasmine LeVeaux, contemporary (2000)
Ellora's Cave, $5.95, ISBN 1-84360-587-2


The Jock is an extra-spicy contemporary romance about Sam Trevianni, a baseball hottie, and Gwenyth Jones, a photographer. Years ago, Sam broke chubby young Gwen's heart when he got engaged to a beautiful sweetheart, just when 16-year old Gwen was about to tell him just how much she was in love with him.

That was then. Now, Gwen is all grown up and Sam is a divorced man. They meet again when Sam helps Gwen's brother in the political aspirations of the latter. Sparks fly, really, really fly, and our two love bunnies waste little time in getting reacquainted and more. But there's trouble afoot: Gwen photographs the National Associated of Men at the start of the story, and those men aren't happy when their naked-jungle-conga act is published in the front page, making a mockery out of them. Threatening letters start coming.

I really enjoyed the love scenes in The Jock - sssh, don't tell anyone or my reputation as Snobby Elitist Quality Reader will be blown, heh heh. When they are hot, they really are hot. Wowzers, The Jock restores my faith in romance novel love scenes. This is one story where I didn't skip the love scenes after a bored yawn and a loud "Next!".

But I am not too enamored of the romance though. Gwen and Sam's characters are pretty sketchy. Sam seems to be in this perpetual horny dog mode around Sam that I really start to feel exhausted on his belief. Wouldn't it hurt to be in that condition all the time? Gwen is more of a typical insecure woman despite being as gorgeous as a bomb. Both are okay characters but they aren't very exciting outside the bedroom (or wherever they are doing the Jive Bunny dance, really). The NAM is ridiculous - I have a hard time buying that they will make any headline material apart from maybe in the Bizarre Idiots Journal.

Hence, The Jock could use some tighter plot. But really, all can be so easily forgiven when the love scenes keep coming. I'm cheap, I'm weak, I know, and yes, I should be ashamed for betraying the Holy Critic Charter that says "Love scenes ain't the start or end or root of all romance novels!" These critics probably haven't read that scene in pages 110 to 113, obviously. Oh hot mama mia, someone get me a barrel of iced water!

Rating: 69


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