Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86339-6
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Single mother Michelle Johns meets rich artist Rashad Brown – as if there is any romance hero in this line that isn’t rich, heh – when she attends his art class. Sparks fly, there is electricity, and soon the clothes fly off too and everything is perfect. Beautiful. Amazing. His family adores her. Her son adores him. Their friends think they are so right for one another. Well, Michelle’s crazy ex-husband disagrees and shows up to do that creepy stalker psycho thing.
There, there’s the story of In His Arms. Actually, I think I gave away nearly the entire story, sorry – that’s how basic the whole thing is. This isn’t a beauty pageant, however, so being basic isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This story spins a fantasy that has its appeal – a single mother, trying to juggle work and kid, suddenly being swept away by Mr Tall, Dark, Handsome, and – most importantly – Filthy Rich. He has all his teeth, one can iron clothes on his stomach and crack some nuts on the abs afterward, and the only thing bigger than the assets in his pants is the size of his bank account. Despite what the promotional material says, Rashad is not a player at all. He’s a nice guy, falls for her easily, has nice and welcoming non-crazy parents, and is willing to shower lots of love and plenty of money on her. Oh, and he’s not crazy or alpha or anything like that. and there are no crazy ex-girlfriends lurking around at the parties he would bring her to.
As romantic fantasies go, I can do much worse than what Yasmin Sullivan is selling me. For the most part, the heroine is sane and likable, and she has good friends around her, so she’s not some neurotic damsel in distress with no one to turn to but the hero. There is a down-to-earth aspect to Michelle that makes it very easy for me to like her.
That is, until late in the story. Michelle decides to become a martyr, dumping Rashad because her crazy ex-husband is threatening her and her son, so she feels that she is a baggage to Rashad to lug around. Also, she doesn’t want Rashad to feel that she’s marrying him for protection. What on earth? If she cares for her son like she claims to, won’t it make more sense to marry him and get him to hire a passel of bodyguards to protect her son? At the very least, she’d be staying at his place, which would most likely have some security system compared to her ratty apartment. When her life and her son’s may be in jeopardy, it doesn’t make sense for her to take this opportunity to play the martyr. Add in her protests that she also can’t marry Rashad until she is certain that her heart is free to love, and I get a heroine whose priorities seem messed up.
Also, the author keeps the same pace in her narrative throughout the story, so much so that quiet moments and more suspenseful moments are depicted in the same sense of non-urgency. When the crazy ex-husband shows up, I don’t feel any trepidation on behalf of the heroine. The guy pops out without a warning, so my first thought is, “Oh, the author remembers that she needs a conflict in her story, I see!” It’s hard to muster any emotion to this plot development when the whole thing is treated like any other scene in this book.
In His Arms is a pretty pleasant read with a premise that can make for some enjoyable vicarious fun. The flaws I’ve mentioned prevent it from being any better, unfortunately.