Desert Isle Keeper
The Virgin and the Vagabond
Comet Bob appears every fifteen years over the skies of Endicott, Indiana to mess with people’s minds and – local folklore has it – grant you a wish if you were lucky enough to have been born in a year when Bob made an appearance. Kirby Connaught was a comet-year baby and when she was fifteen, Kirby and her two best friends, Angie Ellison and Rosemary Marsh, all made their wishes. Kirby wished for a true and forever-after love.
Fifteen years later, Kirby is very far from having any love in her life much less a forever-after love. Kirby is the town good girl. She has been a good girl all her life and is respected by all who know her. So respected that she never had a date in high school. So respected that the few eligible bachelors in Endicott get flustered and run when Kirby acts the least little bit flirtatious. Poor Kirby is not looking to go totally wild, mind you, but she is getting tired of her perfect reputation and would like for something to happen. One afternoon while Kirby is sunbathing in her back yard, she hears a knock on the door. When she opens it there is an utterly handsome man dressed in head to toe designer duds standing at her door with a bottle of champagne and a rose.
The handsome hunk on Kirby’s porch is James Nash who has been named by Tattle Tales magazine as “the most desirable man in America.” He is in all the tabloid papers, all the gossip shows, and even has dozens of Web sites devoted to him. James is in Endicott because he is a comet-buff and has come for the Welcome Back Bob Comet Festival. He’s over at Kirby’s house because he has seen her sunbathing (did I mention she was naked?) through his telescope. Kirby is not impressed in the least by James’s fame although she can’t help but notice his incredible good looks.
James is impressed by Kirby (did I mention he has seen her naked?), and gives her the grand rush. He is always there wherever she is, squires her around to all the comet festivities, and is as attentive to her as any devoted suitor could be. When James finds out that Kirby wants to lose her good girl reputation, he offers his advice for a make over. Sweet, demure Kirby is soon out of her prim Laura Ashley dresses and into short, tight, and bright. When the Endicott bachelors see the new Kirby, they try to pursue her, but James has fallen for his creation and chases them away.
Poor Kirby! Spending all this time in James’s company has caused her to fall for him big time. Kirby has finally found her ever-lasting love, but she forgot to ask Comet Bob to make sure that her ever-lasting love would love her as much as she loves him, and she’s afraid James is nothing but a peeping-tom playboy (I did mention he had seen her naked, didn’t I?). It just so happens that James was born in the year of Comet Bob too. Though he was in Spain on his fifteenth birthday, he had heard about the legend of Bob and made a wish. When James came to Endicott fifteen years later, his wish (and Kirby’s) came true.
The Virgin and the Vagabond was my favorite of the Blame it on Bob mini-series. James was a charming playboy without being caddish or arrogant. He had a touch of vulnerability that made him lovable indeed. Kirby was good, kind, and decent without being treacly sweet. The pacing of the book was fast and funny and I never had any sense of being rushed. There was even a hint of some sequels when Kirby overhears some teenage boys making wishes on Bob.