Like Silk
by Mary Lynn Baxter, contemporary (2002)
MIRA, $6.50, ISBN 1-55166-902-1

Oh, goodie. It's time for the Victims Humiliating Themselves Showcase hour again. Give me PMS and my day is complete.

Mary Lynn Baxter pairs a heroine that makes the willingness to suffer all sorts of smelly stuff in life the new alternative lifestyle with a hero who is a Daddy and Big Brother's boy. It's a surefire recipe for a head-banging, excruciatingly painful romance between two spineless idiots, and boy, it really is one.

Again, Ms Baxter has to use the standard cheapola plot device: heroine Brittany "Victim" Banks, fresh from being sexually harassed by the Bad Guy, is rescued by the hero Collier Smith. She will not report the Bad Guy, because she is just a waitress eking out minimum wage, and her brother is in prison, so no one will believe her, she knows it, so let her keep suffering in the vicinity of the Bad Guy. Someone run her down and end my suffering, please.

In the meantime, Collier is at the verge of becoming a federal judge despite being only 38 and with no political experience, and he is happy, because this is what his father always wanted all along, and besides, he is guilty because he knows he wouldn't have come this far if his brother didn't become a paraplegic and... and... hey, moron, you are 38 years old. Aren't you a bit too old to play a doormat?

He must play his card right: marry the big time rich city gal (and hence, bitch) and defend a bigwig corporation against sexual harassment cases (Republicans - all bastards, eh? Viva lower class, disenfranchised liberal victims everywhere!). But he soon falls for the poor victim heroine (and hence, pure and worthy of love), so what to do?

Especially considering the coincidences in this story: her brother, who's probably currently the reigning bitch for every tough guy in Block H, caused Collier's brother to be wheelchair-bound, and her Bad Guy is Collier's enemy number one. Deus ex coincidence doesn't cover this - the author neatly removes all the snags in the lovebirds' relationship with one fell swoop of plot contrivance.

But that's not as bad as Brittany's willingness to endure suffering and pain and heartache because she feels that she is helpless and useless and so must forever suffer. She's a professional martyr. Likewise, Collier also loves suffering endless guilt and he is a pushover when it comes to being emotionally manipulated. He has no balls, and his weak attempts to reassert himself and defend Brittany from his father and his brother don't ring real at all. He loves suffering for the slightest of reasons, so does she, and this is Romeo and Juliet with ten times the roadkill.

Victims, victims, victims. Oh, my head. I need to lie down.

Rating: 52

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