The Bachelor
by Carly Phillips, contemporary (2002)
Warner, $5.99, ISBN 0-446-61054-2


What is it that they say again? "You can take the category romance out of the author but you can't take the stench of McRomance Nibblets away from her"? In the author's bio, it says that Carly Phillips has written 18 - 18 - novels since 1998. Do the math, it's like five books a year. Frankly, when those Harlequin/Silhouette authors start squealing that it's tough to write category romances and that their books need intricate plotting, et cetera, I'll tell them to kiss my dainty toes. 18 books in four years, yeah, that's as intricate as slapping beef patties on bread slices for the Big Mac line at the local McDonald's. Pffft!

The only reason I think why I'd recommend this book to anyone is if that anyone is a die-hard fan of Harlequin Temptation and Silhouette Desire romances and he or she just has to have more of the same old "stud returns home to screw the small town ice princess" nonsense again and again. Or if the anyone isn't picky or is some snobby reader reading a romance novel for the first time and then gushing it about it in the media as if there's no tomorrow.

Meet the Chandlers. This is the story of the youngest Chandler stud Roman. Roman Chandler, huh? Sounds like a discount lamp from IKEA. Anyway, his mother has a heart problem. She may be dying (snort), so since her deepest wish is to see her kids settled down and making babies with their victims before she kicks the bucket, the brother all draw straws to see who will marry and do the baby making.

Um, seriously? If I'm dying, to hell with my kids' state of matrimony. Besides, I will never live long enough to see the grandkids grow if I have a heart problem like that stupid broad Raina Chandler. If I'm dying and my kids want to make me happy, they better ask Colin Farrell to get naked with me. Or Simon Baker. I'm not that picky.

And what will happen to the wife once the mother dies? Have the stupid sons ever consider that, huh? Huh? Morons. This is what happens when Harlequin editors rule the world and their slaves, sorry, authors, run the education system.

So Roman goes back to his smalltown along with his two brothers (who have BUY MY BOOKS printed on big labels at their crotch where you can't miss them), meets all the women he has screwed and had fun with (obviously these soiled goods are no longer wife material), and he meets that one that got away, Charlotte Bronson. On her part, Charlotte sees Roman and it's like ohmigosh, ohmigosh, penis, penis, penis! As Roman pushes away all the other stupid desperate women wanting his wedding ring to paw Charlotte's considerable mammaries, she is not happy. She whines that she is never leaving this small town and he is a globe-trotting journalist so they will NEVER be happy together and she must NEVER succumb. On his part, he realizes that he cannot use her to make his mother happy so he must NEVER flirt with her but he just can't help it. Ohmigosh.

All this because she can't compromise? All this because she insists she doesn't want to leave the smalltown where she is from? In the end, it is rather disturbing to read about how Roman resigns a lucrative position and gives up everything he knows to live in the smalltown to make Charlotte happy. A man offering to make such sacrifices is romantic, but a woman who demands the man to give everything up for her, even to the bitter end, is disturbing.

Compromise never seems to be an element of the relationship between those two, and Charlotte is like a whiny, petulant girl-child who must have her way or never. Roman is a stock playboy hero ubiquitous in too many contemporary romances, but he's okay, even if he's a Mommy's boy that I wouldn't wish on any woman. I mean, if he's willing to marry and prostitute himself for Mommy, you can bet he will listen to Mommy in every other matter. The wife will be totally miserable within a month. Then again, a fitting end for that annoying Charlotte, come to think of it.

But all this would be okay if this story isn't deader than dead. It is so predictable, familiar, and dull right down to the same old plot and same old characters. Sometimes there are small moments of wit and laughter, but if Carly Phillips wants to make a name for herself among the Elizabeth Bevarly, Christine Ridgway, Lori Foster, and a million other more category authors from where she came from and who are waiting for their chance to break out of their pens, she'll have to do better than this really tired rehash of her 5-books-a-year repertoire.

Bring on the next bachelor. In the meantime, who has the joints and the naked men? If the party promised by this book doesn't arrive, I'm going start one of my own.

Rating: 56


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