Accidental Roommate, by Charlotte Maclay

>> Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I'm very careful when choosing category books to read. Picky, picky, picky. I only buy them when they come highly recommended by someone I trust. Years ago, I used to go down to the newstand and buy loads of Harlequins (Spanish translations), just from reading the back cover blurbs. I managed to read such stinkers that way! I've only kept 4 or 5 books from that part of my reading life.

I thought it might be a good idea to give a category a chance at random, just to see if I managed to hit a winner. So, I grabbed my friend's list of books and just stabbed at it, then asked her to loan me that one.

I'm sad to say I did not hit a winner. In fact, I tossed it at page 30.

The book was Accidental Roommate, by Charlotte Maclay, and it managed to find all my hot buttons and punch them for all it was worth.

Hannah Jansen lives with her father and helps him run the local hardware store in her excruciatingly small town. And at 28, Hannah is sick to death of being wholesome and dependable. A break in the big city is just what she needs. When her hotel mixes up her reservations and puts her in the same room as rancher Holt Janson, Hannah considers her options. Now fate has given her an honest-to-goodness sex symbol for a roommate!
Ok, so I start the book... uh-huh, a 28 year old virgin. Lovely. Wonder if she'll have a real reason to be a virgin at that age. Maybe she wants to save it for her husband? Maybe she's religious? Even though I don't feel that way, at least it will be plausible! Nope, doesn't seem like it. She lives in a small town and, even though she's quite attractive, she never had an opportunity to have sex. Right, ok. Strike # 1 against the book.

So she's at her hotel room and when she comes out of the bathroom she finds a man in the room. Short tussle (in which the author doesn't make her look like too much of an idiot, good for her!) and they explain. H. Jansen and H. Janson. I guess it's possible that the hotel concierges would make such a mistake and give them the same room.

Downstairs it is, to ask the concierge to fix the mistake. Oh, no! The hotel is full! The whole town is full! Conventions, you know. There's no way Holt will be able to get another room, so what could be more natural than that they share a room? Okay, okay, okay! Here's where you lost me. Holt, darling, can't you stay at a motel? A 2-star hotel? I refuse to believe a whole huge city could be full. Such a contrived situation, "only in romance novels", right? Strike # 2.

Strike # 3: Holt's a cowboy. He wears cowboy boots. He wears a Stetson. He thinks of Hannah in horsey terms "She's such a high-strung filly" and stuff like that. Sorry, but yuck! And yes, I know, this is just a personal problem I have, not a real, objective problem with the book. Still, it's one of my hot buttons.

Strike # 4 comes right before I almost throw the book into the trash (before I remember I have to return it), and it's when Holt asks Hannah to stay out of the room from 10 to 12 PM the next day, because he wants some time with the lady he fucks whenever he's in town. Jerk.

That's it for me, thank you very much. I think I'll keep my current system and only pick and choose among categories. No more blind buys (or loans!)

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