by Janice Sims, contemporary (2011)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86210-8
Temptation's Kiss pairs an actress with the leading man, but it is a down to earth love story where the movie serves as an excuse for Patrice Sutton and Trevor Kennedy "TK" McKenna to meet rather than a backdrop. Most of the time, we are watching them laugh, love and romp in beautiful mansions rather than arguing with difficult directors on the movie set. But this shouldn't be a surprise - just how many romance novels with a movie setting do you know that actually show the main characters living like real actors and actresses in LA?
No waitressing for Patrice - she's well off enough to remain awesome despite her career experiencing some recent bumps in the form of a canceled sitcom and some movies that didn't exactly set alight the theatres. She cooks better than well-trained chefs, she is of course gorgeous without being too self-aware about it, her agent loves her, she manages to beat a determined rodeo champ despite never really training hard for the event, and... oh, the list of reasons as to why you can never be as good as Patrice is endless. She's also sensible, understanding, compassionate, wise, and intuitively good at reading people.
Patrice is not the only one who is guilty of being awesome, though. TK is just as "bad" - he's gorgeous, he's a talented lover, he's reached a stage in his life where he is mature enough to appreciate the joys of being monogamous but young enough to keep going all night, he's a talented actor too, and boy, don't get me started on his bank account. The only reason that he can't compare to Patrice's awesome factor is because the sole conflict in this story stems from him acting like a silly kid in the heat of a dramatic emergency. In that case, I'm actually relieved to know that TK is capable of being fallible like the rest of us!
Oh yes, the plot. That's the thing - there's not much of a plot here other than TK and Patrice meeting up to play tragic lovers in a Western movie based on some lawman's life, connecting so beautifully like two radioactive molecules in a nuclear meltdown, and spend the rest of the story swimming in awesome sauce until the conflict crops up late in the story. I actually like the conflict even if it feels suspiciously like padding, because it humanizes a character typically demonized as a slut in too many other romance novels. Still, the conflict also serves to highlight how Patrice is always awesome and compassionate, sigh. I guess I can't win all the time.
Beautiful people who are gorgeous and amazing in everything they do, surrounded by similarly gorgeous and awesome secondary characters, do not make entertaining fodder most of the time because there is hardly any suspense to be had when it's clear to me that these people will never fail at anything in life. Therefore, it is to Ms Sims's credit that Temptation's Kiss is actually a pretty enjoyable read in the end. This is because of the easy chemistry of the main characters and the author's controlled pacing that ensures that the story never once sags or loses its momentum. I also have to admit, as boring as a heroine Patrice may be, it's still nice to meet a smart cookie like her instead of some vacuous imbecile that is typically passed off as a romance heroine nowadays.
Therefore, while Temptation's Kiss is not going to set my blood racing with excitement anytime soon, it is still a pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon. Despite being the epitome of boring awesomeness, these characters manage to have a sweet relationship at the end of the day. All things considered, this one is a pretty decent book. Too bad I'm not a less cranky broad who can overlook the rather one-dimensional awesomeness of the main characters. I can't help thinking that a more interesting story could be had if this story had been about TK's simple brother and his relationship with the girl from the wrong side of the tracks.
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