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Date Me, Baby, One More Time    by Stephanie Rowe order for
Date Me, Baby, One More Time
by Stephanie Rowe
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Justine Bennett is frustrated in every possible way. For over two hundred years, she's been the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth. Being shackled to the goblet isn't as much fun as it once was. She hasn't had to fight anyone in much too long, and the goblet itself has recently used its shape shifting abilities to turn into an espresso machine named Mona. To make matters worse, Justine hasn't left the small apartment she shares with her best friend Theresa in ages. The fact that Theresa is an eleven foot winged dragon may have something to do with keeping them indoors. But what Justine wants more than anything after two centuries of celibacy is a man. So imagine her surprise when her day starts off with not one, but two sexy men barging into her building.

Derek LaValle has a big problem. Every man in his family within the past four generations has died at the age of exactly thirty-one years, forty-six weeks, four days, six hours, three minutes and five seconds. Derek has one week to find a way to stop the Curse and save his life as well as the life of his twin brother. The problem? He needs to behead Justine to do it.

Two words came to mind as I read Date Me, Baby, One More Time: quirky and ludicrous. My reactions ranged from laughing out loud to rolling my eyes as events unfolded around Justine and Derek. The book is billed as a romantic comedy, and it certainly is that. Rowe imbues the novel with as much preposterous ridiculousness as she possibly can, yet somehow, it works. From the very first page, Rowe makes it clear that this is not your typical paranormal fare. The hero and heroine in this novel don't take themselves too seriously, and neither should the reader. The secondary characters are just as farcical. Justine shares her small apartment with a dragon who wears mascara, lipstick and nail polish and who spends her time surfing the Internet for explicit romantic encounters. Justine's mother is held in Purgatory while Satan attempts to convince her to become his love slave for all eternity. And Derek teeters between looking for a cure for the Curse and making corporate deals to further his business, Vic's Pretzels, by partnering up with Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks or McDonalds.

Despite all the threats of imminent beheadings, the story has a light, fun and optimistic feel to it. The plot is fast-paced, and Justine's spunky attitude is perfect alongside Derek's determined, ambitious behavior. Ideal for readers who can suspend their disbelief, this zany and unique paranormal romance is sure to entertain.

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