Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86404-1
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Cole Sinclair has many things to think about. He has recently taken over the family business, Espresso Cosmetics, but the damage has already been done under his stepfather’s management. His stepfather Victor, you see, did all he could to maintain the company the way Cole’s mother did when she was alive, and as a result, time simply passed Espresso Cosmetics by. A marketing survey revealed that the sagging sales are due to the fact that the client base is now reduced to, uh, women after a certain age. Younger women balk at even the idea of buying anything from the company, and if they do have to buy some, it is for some elderly relative.
Worse, Stiletto Cosmetics, a new company, is fast seizing the loyalty of the young women that Cole wants on his side. Stiletto is the media darling of the fashion industry, and its popularity only surged when a hot pop star told the press that her favorite lipstick is from that company. Cole has an idea. He’d buy Stiletto even if it costs him a huge amount of money, and then use the Stiletto brand name to enhance the market position Espresso Cosmetics. It’s that simple. Or maybe not, as Sage Matthews, the boss of Stiletto, is not willing to sell the company she created from scratch, not even for all the money in the world.
Moonlight Kisses makes me laugh within its first few pages, and I have a smile on my face all the way to the last page. If you know me, that’s not something that happens every day, so imagine that. There is a bouncy and fun kind of humor that permeates this story- snappy, fast, and absolutely wonderful – and it’s made better by the fact that both Cole and Sage are giving back as good as they get on equal terms. They both recognize that they are very alike in terms of being driven when it comes to business, and it’s adorable how Sage is actually allowed to be good at her job. Stiletto isn’t losing money or being besieged by PR problems, and Sage and Cole are well-matched when it comes to trying to get the better of the other person. It is also cute how Sage is allowed to be who and what she is without worrying about scruples or morals – common ways other authors use to handicap their heroines to ensure that the hero always has the upper hand.
This story does fall back onto the rather tired concept of how women resent other women for being driven and ambitious, the same traits they’d adore in a man, and, rather unfortunately in this case, instead of debunking that concept, it enforces it. Having sex and falling in love with a man turns Sage “nicer” and “softer” much to the delight of her subordinates, yuck. Still, Sage is still the boss of her company and she doesn’t become dumb or reliant on her man, so I can live with this angle.
Back to the good things, the chemistry between Sage and Cole is amazing – they are the perfect romantic comedy leads, arguing and kissing and going all giddy in one another’s company, and this chemistry doesn’t let up even after these two have consummated their attraction. Some twists and turns employed by the author to get these two going are on the unbelievable and even outlandish side, but the story itself can be quite over the top adorable, so it’s all good. The secondary characters are not too obvious as sequel baits or intrusive, and they meddle and make funny remarks in ways that only make the story more amusing to follow.
For making the world seem like a better place for a little while, Moonlight Kisses gets the well-deserved five oogie treatment from me. It’s just too bad that the story has to end, sigh.