Thursday, August 11, 2011

REVIEW: Signed and Sealed by B.A. Stretke

Signed and Sealed Signed and Sealed by B.A. Stretke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

CAUTION: Slight Spoilers

Holy Hell! A mm-romance that's your standard Harlequin romance! Aaaaaaa!

If you don't like Harlequin or you don't like western romance, move on. If you like at least either one of them, this book may be your cup of tea. I don't care for western romance but I do occasionally read Harlequin and the sort. What can I say? I'm a sucker for those baby mama stories. =P

Instead of a chick, it's two guys with dicks, one being all alpha-you-better-listen-to-me and the other I'm-a-good-guy-with-a-lonely-heart. This is a romance and not erotica, because there are only three mundane sex scenes to tug the heart.

Disregarding my the 5-stars rating I gave the book, Signed and Sealed does have its flaws. IMO, flaws are inherent in Harlequin or Harlequin-esque stories.


I have a few gripes with the plot. I wished Will would have phoned his lawyer the moment Katrina pulled him into another of her gold-digging scheme. That should have been his first warning if not the phone-call from Eli at the start of the story. I wished he would have done so especially when Eli demanded Will to stay in exchange for Katrina's freedom. Two words: illegal imprisonment. Well, almost. Will only agreed to stay because Eli threatened to sue and take away Will's home. Wake up! Your sister accused you of being an accomplice to her gold-digging scheme, there's a guy threatening to sue you because of her, and you're not calling your lawyer?!? I get Will was hesistant to call his lawyer because then Will will have to deal with the loss of his parents again, but come on! I thought the imminent threat of homelessness would have beatdown the grief of family death of two years ago.

Another impossible thing was how Eli was able to get his hand on Will's safety deposit box that his parents left for him in their will. A safety deposite box filled jewel heirlooms and the deed to ancestral land. Apparently, Will's lawyer trusted Eli enough to for Eli to give it to Will...uh, what? Seriously? Maybe the reason why Will didn't call his lawyer is because his lawyer is a crappy one. WTF happened to lawyer-client privilege?

Moreover, I thought the three tests Eli gave to Will for proof of duplicity were too apparent. A credit card with a thousands of dollar limit, a dubious marriage proposal, and access to Eli's bank account. A big reason why gold-diggers are so dangerous is because they're sneaky. It's not until AFTER the marriage AND several stack of bills later that you'll find out she/he is a gold-digger. The other kind of gold-diggers, the ones who are so obvious you have to be blind and deaf and retarded, are not dangerous because their rich lovers know what they're getting into. Hugh Hefner, the face of Playboy, is one such example. Yeah, those young, hot girls really love Hugh for his look and personality. /sarcasm. So I thought those tests Eli gave didn't really prove or disprove anything other than Will's intelligence.

Nonetheless, these plotholes didn't break the story for me. It was pretty much the standard it-is-this-way-for-convenience-to-make-good-drama Harlequin always throw around. Like I said, if you don't like Harlequin and similar romances, then you will not like this story at all. A possible gripe people might have is how the setting of the story—rural Montana was so liberal, i.e. pretty much everyone were all into gay-acceptance. Realism, thy name is not Signed and Sealed, especially not in Harlequin. I tend to avoid the contemporary subgenere of mm-romance because of this, so I was all for having a setting where romance is main issue, not sexuality or social acceptance or civil rights blah blah blah. Not My Thing, I like reading Harlequin remember? Of course, there's only so much suspension of belief a reader can handle, but this story didn't irritate me with its plotholes of convenience.


I love Will and his vulnerability. I usually loathe goody-two-shoes characters, but Will's personality of being levelheaded (the lawyers thing aside) was refreshing. Eli was always testing Will and provoking him that I was delightfully suprised Will didn't throw a temper tantrum the entire time—I sure as hell would have. I'm suprised Will even managed to stay the entire time that Eli forced upon him. I also like how there were no slut-shaming that is often prevalent in Harlequin romance. But that's most likely because Will was male not female. No double-standard here.

I like Eli, he's your typical aplha male. Beneath that rough-and-tough exterior lies a heart of gold that cares deeply for family and friends. Hot sexy cowboy. The man all the ladies and gay laddies want. Eli may have been stereotypical but he wasn't dull. It was compelling to see him so conflicted between testing Will because he's the brother of a gold-digger and wanting Will because he's may be The One.


If I can change one thing about the story, I wish the ending would have extend after the wedding and in the honeymoon. Signed and Sealed gets a five from me (because it's the first Harlequin-esque mm-romance book I ever read, so there =P).

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