Crazy for You
I opened this book feeling sympathetic to the author: there’s a typo in the cover quote! (Either that, or someone email me what a “sexy ramp” is.) Also, I had just watched a show about the Titanic, and was really keen to read about the tragic flapper ghost haunting an old luxury liner. Sadly, I only ended up wishing more of the book had been about the ghost.
Sexton St. Croix is the heir to the St. Croix Cruise Line fortune, and is effectively running the company. To celebrate the company’s centennial, Sexton refurbished the Majestic, a grand cruise liners that’s been in dry dock for over 75 years. But before the ship can sail again it must be exorcised of a ghost. Sexton (called Sex for good reason) is desperate to get rid of the spirit of a flapper who allegedly killed his great-great uncle Randolph in a fit of scorned love and then stuck around to haunt the ship after killing herself. So he fills the Majestic with psychics, clairvoyants, tarot card readers, and a motley assembly of family and friends for a Caribbean cruise. If no one can banish the ghost, he’ll break up the ship for scrap.
Bree Emery, naturally, is the only real paranormally-talented person on the so-called Psychic Cruise; the rest are fakes, scam artists, and opportunists just there for a shot at the $100,000 reward. She’s got her own psychic TV show in Miami, and has a Dead Zone-like ability to touch people and see things in their past. Bree thinks the ghost should have rights, too, but just saying Sex’s name gets her hot. She agrees to investigate, although with the warning that the ghost won’t leave until she’s ready to go.
Sex is a playboy extraordinaire. He’s been on a tear through women for every minute of his adulthood, and apparently collected naughty boxer shorts from all of them. Since Bree can feel people’s pasts by touching them, every time she bumps into Sex, she senses his past lovers and knows every detail of what he did with them in bed. Can I just say one thing? Yuck! It’s one thing to know a man had a thousand women before you, but to have literal visions of him doing the nasty with all of them. Luckily for Bree her ability to see his past fades as her feelings for him grow, and it turns out massage oil is just like Kryptonite. Sex, on the other hand, begins to think that Bree might not be just a one night stand as planned. That’s right, he might be ready to make a five day commitment to her! Incredibly sexual and entirely bent on seducing Bree, Sex is the Duke of Slut, even setting aside all the jokes with his name: looking for Sex, chasing after Sex, etc.
Not that it was clear why he went after Bree. She’s very placid. She never gets mad, or upset, or even deliriously happy. While not wishing spunkiness on her, I would have liked to see a little spark now and then. Even at the end, when events came to a climax, she was…calm. It was hard to reconcile the fierce passion she supposedly felt for Sex (ha ha) with her actions as described.
The cruise visits a number of Caribbean ports of call, all of which of lavishly described. Everything, actually, is lavishly described; you won’t have to guess what kind of shoes someone wears, they’re black Jimmy Choo stiletto sandals. And as interesting as the Caribbean islands were, I didn’t see what purpose they served in the story, except to show that: a) Sex had a harem in every port; and b) getting rid of the ghost wasn’t really all that pressing after all, not when there were scenic mountains to hike.
Crazy For You is actually three romances in one. The story of the star-crossed romance between the flapper, Daisy, and the upper-crust Randolph St. Croix is told in flashbacks as Bree “falls into” Daisy’s world and relives the tragedy. Daisy is a pretty playful ghost, and she spills her story in a very straightforward manner to Bree. For all Bree’s talk of solving the mystery of Daisy’s tragedy, all she really did was wait for Daisy to tell her the answer. I guessed how the story would play out almost from the beginning, but hey, I love Romeo and Juliet stories. There’s yet another romance in the book, between Sex’s sister Celia and her bodyguard, Jackson; the heiress and the hired help, as Jackson refers to it. I like this kind of story, too, to be honest, and this one was intensely sexy. However, it’s not a good thing when the main couple – i.e., Sex and Bree – is the least interesting pair in the book.
This book had some very promising elements. Too many things, though, were contrived: Daisy’s cabin was never touched after the murder. How nice of the St. Croixs to store her things for all those years until Bree could come look through them. Too many things were cutesy: to a child with a lisp, Mr. St. Croix becomes Mr. Sex Toy – and this on top of him already being named Sex! Too many things were described in exhaustive detail: does the color and scent of the towels in the ship’s spa really matter? But the heroine was too bland and the hero too horny, and not even two other romances could make this book shine.