Murphy's Law
by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (2001)
MightyWords, $3.00, ISBN 0-7173-0434-5

The French Maid
by Sabrina Jeffries, historical (2000)
MightyWords, $3.00, ISBN 0-7173-0155-9

Murphy's Law is only 20 pages long, The French Maid 19. Yeah, yeah, nitpick all you want about the cost and the length, but you know what? Both stories are pretty entertaining in a nice, readable manner. Despite the measly length, I actually find the romance in these stories well developed - albeit a rushed way - enough to keep reading.

I like Murphy's Law a lot so I'll start with it. I have to accept at face value that Jim Murphy falls in love with Andi Patterson after one night of deep talking. Jim rescues Andi from a boyfriend who can't understand No, and he learns that Miss Perfect Ice Princess isn't that cold or frosty after all. She's even... sweet. Okay, that is high school. Cut to these two now being grown-ups. Jim has asked Andi to write to him while she was studying in Stanford, but she never does. Imagine her surprise when he shows up at her doorstep, still besotted. But she's engaged. Oops. To a boring fusspot who never stand a chance against Jim Murphy, Navy SEAL in training (did I hear somebody groan?). Andi is going to see her neuroses, insecurities, and fear of rejection thrown out the window soon enough.

I don't know, really. A guy who waits all these years for a woman who never calls or writes? That's either a real idiot or a great catch. Since Jim is such a charmer and Andi comes off more like a lonely, sad woman who can't outgrow her geeky high school days, I'd say to hell with it and just go along with the ride. This one is fun and charming.

Sabrina Jeffries' The French Maid is about a cold marriage between Eleanor Rushin and Henry, Lord Lansford. He marries her for her family connections that will further his political career, and she... well, he has great thighs. Now, Eleanor is fed up with feeling underappreciated by her hubby but she doesn't know what to do. She wants pumpies, but he will only visit her bed once a week (Wednesday nights, like clockwork). And when hubby is showing signs of forgetting their anniversary, it's the last straw.

Then hubby hires a maid to replace the one who just got married. Babette Lebeau is French, and she will teach Eleanor how to spice up her marriage. Hey, settle down, this is not one of those sex education thingies. Instead, Babette will doll Eleanor up and give some practical advice here and there. On his part, Henry sees his wife's wearing the Regency equivalent of a Wonderbra and perks up considerably.

What could've been a silly story - doll up and he'll be nicer to you - turns into a great story of a guy who humbly learns never to take wifey for granted ever again. Too bad the author never has Henry volunteering to do the housework from now on, but still, this story is a breeze to read and a hoot at places.

Perhaps it will be asking the impossible for deep romance and melodrama in these 20-paged stories, but for an hour I am entertained tremendously. I'd also prefer to think of these stories as brief glimpses into people's lives and not the whole story, because that way, I'll still feel good about these stories despite having paid $3.00 each for them.

Rating: 88 for Murphy's Law and 84 for The French Maid

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