by Alexandra Marell, contemporary (2007)
Alinar Publishing, $1.99, ISBN 978-1-906023-13-3
I'm a little overdosed on paranormal romances at the moment. Therefore, Alexandra Marell's Setting Him Free seems like a dream come true. It's cheap for its length, for one, heh, but more importantly, this is a straightforward contemporary romance with no paranormal or out-of-this-world elements. The guy on the cover isn't too shabby as well. What choice do I have but to give this book a try?
Danielle Radcliffe - no, she is not related to whoever you may be thinking of at the moment - is the Quality Control Manager at Exotic Resorts Inc, which I understand is a job that requires her to travel all over the place and enjoy paid vacations in the name of reviewing the service of the resorts she visits. It's a dream job but she probably wishes she has entertained an alternative career option when she boards a plane and the plane takes off, only to go down some time later. Somehow she manages to survive. Another passenger survives as well, a mysterious man called Taylor who was a prisoner being escorted by two cops until the plane went down. Is Taylor her enemy or ally? Will someone come rescue them?
Setting Him Free is a well-paced and readable story. Taylor is appropriately mysterious with secrets to keep. Danielle is somewhat problematic because Ms Marell has Danielle often going from trusting Taylor to being suspicious of him as if Danielle is some kind of see-saw. Still, she's not too silly and she is reasonably smart considering how she is not in her element when it comes to the situation she is currently in. The romance is not too shabby as well since there are some decent attempts by Ms Marell to show that the relationship isn't just about sex or two people getting caught up in some kind of adrenaline rush.
I have one objection though - the author using that stupid No Condom plot device where the two characters decide that it's okay to shag even if they have no condoms because she's on the pill. Come on, people, we are all intelligent grown-ups here, aren't we? So why are we pretending that condoms are only for prevention of unwanted pregnancies? Taylor was a prisoner. Who knows what he got into in those showers back in some prison or what kind of needles he used to get happy on the sly in his cell. Danielle knows he was a prisoner. And yet here she is happily getting down with him without any protection because, as she puts it, she's on the pill so everything will be okay. Give me a break. And give me a bigger break when this No Condom thing leads to a predictable you-know-what situation.
Apart from that huge annoying use of an insipid "only in the romance genre" plot development, Setting Him Free isn't a bad read at all, especially for its length and price. It could be better, especially if it loses that oh-so-insulting "But it's okay! I'm on the pill!" nonsense, but in its current form it's still a quick and pretty entertaining read.
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