Kiss Me Once, Kiss Me Twice
by Kimberly Raye, contemporary (2004)
Warner, $5.99, ISBN 0-446-61399-1


At barely 275 pages, Kiss Me Once, Kiss Me Twice is probably a Harlequin Temptation that gets picked up by Warner thanks to Kimberly Raye's intrepid agent. This book feels like a Harlequin Temptation, right down to its unfortunate childish treatment of sex from which this story never recovers from.

Skye Farrel believes in a sexually liberal outlook in life thanks to her "unorthodox" mother, so Skye now teaches sexual seminars. Unfortunately, the author still thinks that it is year 2000, where "daring" constitutes having a sex tutor heroine teaching about sex with the gravity of Moses to a bunch of female nitwits that giggle uncontrollably at the mention of a man's penis. It is okay if we are talking about a bunch of ten-year old schoolgirls giggling in the shed while browsing over Daddy's dirty magazines, but adult women acting like such girls can ruin any story and this story isn't that invulnerable.

The actual story, if I overlook the unfortunate Harlequin Temptation gimmicks the author uses, is that Skye is always the bridesmaid and as of now, a stunned bridesmaid when her friend whom she never imagines will settle down eventually does. At the wedding, while looking for a banana (don't ask - it's another unfortunate failed "let's try to be funny while giggling about sex" gimmick), she meets the ex-NASCAR hottie Clint MacAllister, always the best man. But he's seeing someone else and she will never marry ever, so what can they do to meet each other halfway?

This book is filled with unimaginative banana, cherry, and other tedious innuendos that will either drive readers into laughter or convulsions of pain. It is really a pity that Skye and Clint are characters straight out of the new Dave E Kelley TV series that never happened. Their baggages, psychology, and angsts get Ms Raye's own take on the Ally McBeal treatment, right down to the sexual ideologies that nobody with half a mind will consider seriously even for a moment.

Under the glut of failed "trendy Harlequin Temptation - sexy but not sexy enough to shock the Bible Belt readers!" gimmicks, Skye and Clint actually have a really good banter system going and they actually have decent chemistry. In another book with a more organic and realistic "letting things flow naturally" plot that does not try too hard to pander to the romance genre's misguided formula of sexy romantic comedy, Skye and Clint will be a really fun couple.

Rating: 67


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