Sunday, July 3, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

Every romance reader has a guilty pleasure author. An author we have a hard time admitting we enjoy - because deep down we know we shouldn't. Mine is Thea Devine. Yes, I know her plots are a convoluted mess. Yes, I know her writing has a tendency to get - um - creative, and her characters have little to no redeemable qualities.

I know all this and I still don't give a rat's ass.

Which brings me to my point (yes, I do have one). Melissa MacNeal. I just wrapped up Demon's Dare, a Black Lace novel I've had languishing in the TBR since my last big smut buying spree a couple of years ago. Man, was this book twisted. It was written with such an over-the-top gleefulness that it reminded me a lot of some of Devine's better books. Family Secrets Gone Highly Sexed, if you will.

Where to begin? Oh, it's 1895 and our heroine, Vanita Wells is wrapping up finishing school. Then a scoundrel comes calling and informs her that he is taking her back home to Kentucky where her guardian (an aunt) is lying on her death bed. Vanita is not terribly pleased with this turn of events, since the scoundrel in question, Pearce Truman, was just moments ago occupying his time with the school's headmistress (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

So after some playful shenanigans (boy howdy!), the two arrive back on the family horsefarm only to find out that Auntie Dearest isn't dying and has in fact sold Vanita down the river to the villain to cover her gambling debts.

Don't you hate it when that happens?

So now Vanita is under the thumb of Franklin Harte, who wants Vanita to turn his freaky son into a man. Except Damon isn't terribly interested in girls - except for his twin sister.

Yeah, you read that right - the twins are really close.

It would be disgusting (OK, it is) if it weren't so gleefully over-the-top.

So now Vanita must decide who she can trust and figure out a way to not end up marrying Damon or being sexually molested by creepy Franklin.

I'm really not doing this story justice. I'm sure it all sounds rather sick. And really, if it wasn't written like a sexed-up soap opera gone haywire, it would be sick. But MacNeal has a way of making the trashy fun and not terribly disturbing. At times she does go a tad overboard (Damon invents a lot of pleasurable toys), but dang if this wasn't one hell of a train wreck.

Every now and then we all need a book like this. Whether it be Jackie Collins, Thea Devine or Melissa MacNeal. Man was this book a trip! Certainly not for the faint of heart, but dang if I haven't found a new guilty pleasure.


Nicole said...

Sounds....interesting. yeah, that's it. Interesting.

Tara Marie said...

Hey, I love Thea Devine (though I don't read her that faithfully), I've met her a couple of times and she visited with my old bookclub. Once you've met her, her campiness goes hand and hand with her personality, she is funny and quirky.

Kate R said...


But that Leone book is on now on my actual go out and buy list.

sybil said...

you do know I will be looking for this now....

say twisted sex and I feel the need to read it, yes I am odd why do you ask

Although this one really does sound twisted. Hee I almost bought River Bliss? I think that was the title the other day because it was cheap. But the last few Thea Devine's I had just sat here forever and I never read them so I didn't.

Now I which I had.

Wendy said...

I met Devine at RWA in 2002 and I think I stood there the whole time in shocked silence. She just "looked" different than what I had pictured in my head ya know? All I could think was "This nice lady wrote some of my favorite trashy camp?!"

You're thinking of BLISS RIVER. I thought it was so-so. I did enjoy the African setting through - a nice change of pace from the usual.

sybil said...

Yes that one! Hee which is your fave?

Wendy said...

I still think Devine's best book is DESIRED. It's just the right mix of trashy southern soap opera and naughty sex :-)