by Arianna Hart

October 2003
ISBN: 1-55410-036-4
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Stranded is exactly as the title says. A couple who detest one another are roped into a weeklong stay at a remote cabin in New Hampshire, by two people who think they belong together.

Ciara’s sister Molly is getting married. Molly is all Ciara isn’t and more. She’s pretty and talented and about to be married to her dream guy. Molly’s hubby-to-be is Lance, and Lance has a friend Ross. Ross and Ciarra have met at many a function concerning Molly and Lance in preparation for their wedding and they despise one another. Ross calls Ciara names and Ciara calls him names right back. Ciara, of course, wants Ross but refuses to let him know because he’s a complete jerk.

Ross fancies himself a player and boffs as many beautiful babes as he can get his hands on. He secretly lusts for Ciara too, but out of his irritation over this, he picks on her, calling her dumpy and the like. Molly and Lance are due to be married shortly and they want the fighting to stop between their two favorite people. So they hijack them and leave them in their ‘love palace’/cabin to duke it out. Ciara figures what the hell, she’ll do Ross ‘til the cows come home, then dump him at week's end. Ross figures the same, but the landscape changes drastically for the pair when love enters the picture.

I’ll begin by saying this wasn’t an unpleasant read by any stretch of the imagination. It just wasn’t a ‘wow’ read. The plot was formulaic, hero and heroine meet, hate one another, yet harbor secret attractions. They’re thrown together by two well-meaning folk, find that in close quarters they can’t keep their hands off of each other, have every sexual adventure known to man and end up falling in love. Fight that love ‘til the bitter end, because the heroine thinks she’s no match for the hero and vice versa. Predictable, yet safe.

I will tell you that much of the sexual activity had me thinking I might collapse after a while and some of the descriptions for Ciara’s desire were messy, to say the least. The sexual language, such as ‘quim’ seemed incredibly out of place in a contemporary setting, matched only by the lack of contractions used in their dialogue. The read was rather choppy as a result and the dialogue awkward. However, I liked these two as a couple and wished them well in the end.

For an easy, if predictable ride down the path to love give Stranded a try.

Reviewed in March 2004 by Connie.

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