Whoever said to never judge a book by its cover has never read a romance novel before. I bring you A Moment in Time by Deb Stover:
Creeper wielding a pick axe (oooh! phallic subext?!). A rustic cabin surrounded by a random field of poppies. A giant pocket watch streaking through the sky. Oh, I judge. I so judge.
The heroine: Jackie Clark, a plucky jazzercising (!) hair-dresser. Who. Wears. A. Fannypack. . Deb Stover insists Jackie is from the present-day, but who is she kidding. Homegirl is clearly from the ‘80s.
The hero: Cole Morrison, an upstanding but broke gold miner. Throughout the book, Cole finds himself torn between the alluring Jackie Clark and a promise he made to his dead wife. And here’s the kicker, apparently he looks like Mel Gibson. After dropping the book in recoil, I soon realized that Ms. Stover must’ve been basing Cole on 2000 male-chauvinist-turned-sensitive-guy Mel Gibson from What Women Want. You know, back when he was hot.
Regardless, Deb must’ve been psychic because Cole soooo has Mel’s present-day crazy eyes.
The Plot: It’s a hard knock life for Jackie Clark. Jacks has been abandoned in a Rocky Mountain cabin by her d-bag boyfriend Blade. (Seriously, Blade? What is this, an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger?) Turns out Blade has made off with Jackie’s car and money. The poor girl is forced to strap on her fanny pack (!) and hike her way back to civilization. Unfortch, a freak summer snowstorm forces Jackie to seek shelter in an abandoned saloon. There she comes across an arresting portrait of buxom saloon singer *~Lolita Belle~*.
Unbeknownst to J, the portrait is a time portal!!! Don’t roll your eyes just yet, because Jackie gets transported back to 1891 in the mining town of Devil’s Gulch!!! OMG! The shenanigans continue when everyone mistakes her for Lolita Belle, the singer they’ve hired to perform. So she’s held hostage by the saloon owner. Boo.
On the other side of town, Cole Morrison can barely make ends as a gold miner. This single dad has also solemnly promised his dead wife to take their son Todd to Oregon for a better life. Luckily, a rival saloon owner is offering Cole enough gold to get their asses to Oregon. All he has to do is kidnap Lolita Belle. And so Cole sets off to snatch Lolita….or who he believes to be Lolita. Because remember, it’s actually Jackie! But she proves to be the most understanding of kidnapping victims. Because even though Cole is holding a gun to her head, good ol’ Jacks realizes that he wouldn’t really kidnap her unless he had a good reason! You know, like how Alcala killed all those women because he really needed the photographic inspiration. It’s this kind of understanding (read: Stockholm syndrome) that sets Jackie and Cole’s relationship in motion.
The unexpected pairing gets to know each other. Blah blah blah. They fall in love. Blah blah blah. They have sex in the hayloft. Blah blah blah. Jackie reveals to Cole that she’s actually from the future. Cole thinks she’s cray-cray but decides to be with her anyway. You know, like Noah in The Notebook. But their happy ending isn’t up yet. Eventually, Cole has to return Lolita back to the saloon and claim his money. Jackie also realizes that God-fearing miners who sometimes moonlight as kidnappers don’t marry saloon hoes. Or in Jackie’s case, jazzercising redheads. So much dramz.
But before J and C can figure out their relationship, Blade the d-bag kidnaps Jackie! Yeah, he time travels too. A scuffle ensues and the real *~Lolita Belle~* arrives to Devil’s Gulch. Everyone soon discovers that they’ve made an awful mistake! Jackie is not Lolita Belle! With all this settled, Jackie decides to leave behind her present-day life and stay in 1891 to be with her gold-mining honey. Okay, so she is crazy. Jackie and Cole have sex about twice more and then get married. Insert happy ending here.
Pages in book: 318
Page they finally do the dirty: 211 — Cole moves slow!
Most profound description of sex: “Their hearts slowed, hammering together as one to the cadence of the ancient dance between man and woman.”
Least sexy description of the male anatomy: “His breath caught in a gasp as blood rushed from his head to his loins like a mountain stream during spring thaw.”
Runner up: “His enthusiastic body twinged and throbbed, reminding him he hadn’t even visited the outhouse this morning.”
What you should never say to a girl in bed: “Beauty, meet the Beast,” he whispered.
Moment that had me mentally punching Deb Stover: “Jackie knew, somehow, that if she touched the portrait, she could return to her own time and that the fire would be gone. She knew it with a certainty the stunned her. This was her moment of reckoning. Modern plumbing, movies, fast food, woman’s rights, her salon, Great-Aunt Peal…Compared to love, none of that matter. “
Omg, Deb. What the hell?
Final words: This book sucks.
Final Final Words: This book really sucks.