Mr. December is the last of the 1998 Mail Order Men, men featured in
the fictitious singles magazine, Texas Men. Over all, I found that
this series didn't live up to its advance billing. If this weren't the
final issue of Texas Men, I'd probably let my subscription lapse.
Lexi Jordan needs a man to bring home for Christmas dinner, but not just
any man will do. She needs someone impressive, someone to knock the socks
off her parents and her cousin, a famous opera singer. When her roommate
suggests that she go meet Mr. December, the twelfth hunk in the Science
Hunk calendar featured in Texas Men magazine, Lexi decides to go for
the gusto. After all, the science hunks all work near the college where
she's a music professor. And, the best reason is that Mr. December is
definitely droolable material.
Mr. December a.k.a. Dr. Spencer Price is in a bind. The Science Hunks
calendar has been a money maker, with the money used to fund research to
develop a robotic hand with tactile sense. Texas Men, which
successfully advertised the calendar, is getting complaints of false
advertising about the models. Most of the men have had their photos
somewhat enhanced, in an airbrushed sort of way, like us and Glamour Shots.
If Texas Men gets any more complaints about the science hunks being
science duds, any more complaints that the men need body and personality
transplants, the magazine may want refunds from the calendar sales. The
magazine also wants some positive feedback, publishable feedback, from the
various women who are dating the twelve men.
When Lexi shows up with what Spence thinks is an outlandish proposal,
having Christmas dinner with her family, he sees a two pronged solution.
He'll go if Lexi will write a glowing recommendation to the magazine. He
also recognizes her name, a family name associated with funding grants. So
he's seeing dollar signs in his eyes when he looks at Lexi. What he doesn't
realize until almost too late is that Lexi wants to approach her father
about money to refurbish the music building on her campus. This competition
won't bode well for their success.
At this point the story could have gone one of two ways. Spence could have
realized that Lexi was original, charming and genuine and that he would be
a fool to pursue her for what her family could do for him. Then the rest of
the book could have been a treat to view their developing relationship. Or
it could spend most of its time with Spence speculating on how Lexi could
help his career, a career which had been his main focus for years. Choose
the latter and you've guessed correctly. Spence takes too long to see Lexi
for the special person she is. For most of the book Spence does view her
with dollar signs in his eyes rather than stars. And that's too bad.
Lexi is one of those special heroines that it's almost impossible not to
admire. She and her roommate Francesca have a longstanding joke about
underwear. Francesca wears luxurious silk lingerie and is thinking about
leather, too. Lexi sees herself as white cotton. These two are delightful
as they compare underwear and its uses, especially Francesca's fake
boobs – an 'enhancement emergency.' The dialog between these two is witty,
entertaining and good-natured. I'm hoping that we see Francesca in her own
story, with a hero strong enough to complement her.
Spence is the reason for the three-heart rating. A weak hero means that the
book and the relationship aren't balanced. Spence is so . . . blah, bland,
colorless. He just didn't make me tingle. Lexi is adorable and full of
life, but Spence is just there, plotting ways to get his hands on more
grant money for far too long.
Parts of Mr. December are humorous, with grin-inducing dialog.
Christmas dinner, the reason for the ruse in the first place, is an
eye-rolling calamity. If only Spence had been up to par with the rest of
the story, Mr. December would have been a stocking stuffer. Instead,
stick with apples, candy and nuts.