Joyride by Colleen Collins
(Harl Tempt. #867, $3.99, G) ISBN 0-373-25967-0
Joyride does not live up to its name. The journey is tedious, with an insipid heroine and a hero that is one-dimensional. The jokes fall flat, the premise is unbelievable and I am thankful I made it through the longest 218 pages I have read in a long time.

Corinne McCourt opens the story by wrapping herself in saran wrap and putting on 6-inch high heels in an effort to energize her love life with her fiancé, Tony. He ruins her surprise by coming home for lunch with a blonde bombshell on his arm. Corrine throws a temper tantrum and steals Tony’s Ferrari. She leaves in her saran wrap, sans anything else, and goes to her gay friend’s house, who promptly escorts her through a room full of gay men, and takes her to his bedroom. She borrows his clothes and heads in the Ferrari to Las Vegas, to see her friend and look-alike cousin, Sandee.

When Corinne arrives in Vegas, she finds Sandee heartbroken and dejected, recovering from a “bump and run” car theft perpetrated by Sandee’s boyfriend, Hank. Hank was trying to make some money for Sandee and he involved her in the scheme without her prior knowledge. Sandee is upset and convinces Corrine to take her place, so she can take off and sulk. (Sound like something out of an old Patti Duke show? It was just as ridiculous.)

The job Corinne is taking over is as a Ring-card girl for a boxing ring. Corinne gets herself into a red string bikini and struts around like a bimbo, holding up the posters that announce the round to the audience during the fights. Corrine finds this liberating, something “her old self” would never do. What intelligent woman would want to, I ask!

Here’s where the stud, Leo Wolfman, enters the picture. Leo is a detective on the LVPD investigating the bump and run. Problem is, Corrine, posing as Sandee, knows nothing about this. When Sandee mentions a “bump and run”, Corrine thinks it is some sex maneuver. She never connects Leo with Sandee, and in fact, thinks Tony, her fiancé, sent him after the Ferrari. He just keeps popping up in her dressing room and at her apartment, and she never asks, “Who are you?”

Leo is recuperating from his own deceptive ex-wife, who apparently was running some con which Leo discovered when he went in to bust up the operation. His surprise was so great, he got shot and has been in therapy ever since. He lives in a house all alone has minimal furniture (ex-wife cleaned him out), an Airstream trailer in his driveway. He claims only a talking wine-drinking parrot and a voodoo doll he keeps in his car for friends.

That’s it, that is what we learn about Leo, except he “looked like a rugged Mel Gibson with a surly, sexy attitude like Billy Idol”. Of course, Corrine makes this snap judgment standing in her dressing room stark naked, while Leo looks on. No protests, no yelling to get out…just she staring at him and he at her. I would not call this “liberating”.

The rest of the story is Leo trying to find out what makes “Sandee/Corrine” tick, and Corrine discovering who she really is, while acting like Sandee. None of Sandee’s friends can tell that Corrine has taken her place, including the boyfriend, Hank. How close can two people be when confronted with a look-alike (with different colored eyes and hair) and the man doesn’t sense it is not his own true love?

The little bit of sexual tension consists of hot gazes and absurd comments about each other’s anatomy. Leo gets all hot and bothered over the bikini and the curves it exposes, while Corrine fixates on the “threadbare area around his manhood”. Her conclusion? “He’s like an animal”.

I am still cringing over the idiocy and absurdity and am so glad to be finished with this Joyride.

--Shirley Lyons

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