Let me give you a little scenario. You’re taking a bath, and when you’re done you stand up and reach for a towel, only to find it and your robe are being held by a grubby, gaunt, bearded, and shackled man. This man says, “Very nice” and lets his gaze rake up and down your naked body before giving you the towel and robe. He then informs you he’s escaped from the state pen where’s he serving time for murder, and has come to take away the child you’re raising, which he claims to have fathered with the town hooker. Now do you: A) scream for help at the top of your lungs; B) run for the town sheriff the first chance you get; or C) invite the gentleman to take a bath, fetch him some clean clothes, and find a hacksaw to cut off his shackles?
Personally, I’d go for a combination of options A and B, but our bold and common sense-challenged heroine Callie Quinn goes with option C, because her brother Nathan (the one who abandoned her and the farm to pan for gold in California) said he thought Wade Mason (our shackled hero) was innocent. Sadly this is only chapter one of Callie’s Convict and I was already rolling my eyes. Nor did it help that, in the prologue, Wade proved he was as much a mental giant as Callie. Given the opportunity to get out of prison by the town hooker proposing marriage in exchange for her testifying to his innocence he turns her down because he’s not in love. Most people would agree to anything to get out of jail, prove their innocence and then work out the details, but not Wade. No, he has principles that are more important than common sense.
So this is the basis of our story. Of course Wade is innocent, but does he work at proving it? Not really. Why? Well for starters he’s kind of stuck hiding at Callie’s house from the law. Then there’s bonding with his son – well, when it’s convenient. Mainly he’s not looking because he’s too busy lusting after Callie. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual: Callie starts lusting after Wade minutes after meeting him. They make some obligatory attempts at proving his innocence, but basically it’s a mutual lust fest.
It might have helped if these people were remotely likable. Callie is extremely naïve and has terrible judgement. Not only did she let an escaped convict in her house, but shortly after being introduced to the joys of sex, decides that the reason women become hookers is sex is oh so much fun and it might be a good way to make a few bucks. Then there’s our hero, Wade, who (we are repeatedly told) is devoted to his son, and who has this lovely thought on page 173: “Bath night. Curses. It seemed his son was forever going to be a thorn in the side of his plans for seduction.” Father of the Year Wade Mason ain’t.
I might have bought Callie’s attitude towards Wade if she’d known him before prison and truly believed in his innocence. Or if Wade had been such a unique and worthy hero that he won Callie over with charm and wit and amazing acts of kindness. Nope, just two ridiculous people, thinking constantly about jumping each other’s bones, and making halfhearted attempts to clear his name. On top of it all, the villains were arrogant and dumb enough to write down what they had done and keep the proof in their homes and offices, so it’s amazing Wade went to prison at all.
In the end, I can think of no reason to recommend reading this book.