Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86429-4
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Brace yourself, people, for yet another go at what seems like tropes as old as time, song as old as rhyme. Goodness, I feel like I’m that teapot in a twisted version of that Beauty and the Beast cartoon. The oddest thing about Silken Embrace is that it actually bucks the tropes a bit by reversing the gender roles. It is odd because the story still feels dull and “been there, done that” despite this role reversal. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s have the plot synopsis first.
Terrell Drake loves women, and he knows that women love every inch of his tall, dark, muscular, booty-licious body and good looks. Like all heroes of this kind, he is a billionaire who seems to work only for fun – he mentors fatherless young boys at the local youth center. I know, it is easy to joke about how many of those kids that could be his, but come on, he’s actually a pretty nice guy here, so I’ll cut him some slack. The “humorless keg with issues” character, who is typically the Greek tycoon who happens to look like an American dude in stories of this sort, is actually the heroine Ashley Robinson. She’s a single mom who signs up her brat at the youth center, so that he can make friends and learn a thing or two, and Terrell is intrigued by her from the get go. She has been burned by men before – hello, single mommy here – so she is not interested in having a relationship with Terrell. Or so she thinks.
The back cover synopsis makes it seem like Ashley would play hard to get, but take it from me – on page 42, she is already showing Terrell how much she loves her banana milkshake, if you know what I mean. Our heroine here works fast: while she doesn’t care for a relationship, she doesn’t see why she shouldn’t have the time of her life riding that horse when the opportunity arises. Ride that man out of her system, that kind of thing. Poor Terrell is dismayed when his latest squeeze not only drops him when she’s done with him, she also rolls over and falls asleep once he’s made her very happy.
I know, it all seems cute, but the story is actually more on the dry and boring side. This is because the author tends to tell a little too much. Characters tend to monologue rather than talk like normal people would, and there are too many scenes which see the author practically listing down what the characters are doing in a laundry list manner. As a result, the narrative becomes monotonous to follow after a while.
The author can come up with some witty and amusing banter if she puts her heart to it, but for the most part, it seems like her heart is not in this story. It’s a shame, really, because Ashley is a different kind of heroine, and her issues with her ex are settled in a refreshingly normal manner that allows the ex to keep some of his dignity intact. There are many things about Silken Embrace that should make it a different, refreshing, fun kind of read, but at the end of the day, the execution is too flat for its own good.
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