Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21665-6
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Niobia Bryant has been around for a while, so it’s not surprising that A Billionaire Affair is one of the more readable Kimani books of its time. The sequel baits fit nicely into the story without sticking out too much like garish billboards, the conversations and sexual harassment feel like they can occur naturally in real life. and the pacing is generally fine. It’s too bad that this is one of the handful of approved story lines that is being rehashed again without even a cursory heating up.
Now that I think of it, I don’t recall Alek Ansah specifically singled out as a billionaire. Maybe I missed it, but I’m not in the mood to read through the whole thing again to be certain. It’s quite odd to imagine a Daddy’s boy like Alek being a billionaire though, considering that his business ventures don’t seem to be at a global level to warrant making all that money.
He and heroine Alessandra Dalmont – yes, Alek and Alex, isn’t that cute? – are prime examples of nepotism in action, and in case Alek’s case, he openly admits it. These two are wealthy, but the wealth comes from Daddy, especially on Alessandra’s part. At least Alek runs a business – Alessandra does charity and it is only when she inherits her father’s share of Ansah Dalmont Group that she bothers to go to business school. Therefore, it’s actually understandable that Alek sees her as an unwanted baggage that comes with his inheritance of his father’s share of ADG. But with them effectively co-owning the company, they have little choice but to have sex and get married, as all that is written in the stars.
Hence, the premise. Alek thinks very little of Alessandra’s brainpower but can’t stop drooling over her body. He is a piece of work indeed – he will bait and push her into acting unprofessionally just to make his point that she’s an epic fail, even as he points his tackle at her every chance he gets. Meanwhile, Alessandra insists that she is a capable boss of a big conglomerate, but she can’t stand up to Alek at all and shows a habitual pattern of running away from everything that stresses her out. I don’t know if this is intentional on the author’s part, but I get here two not-so-sunny stereotypes – the predatory boss who makes the move on the women in the workplace, and the female boss who can’t keep a lid on her emotions and makes every business decision a personal one. Both, of course, are shining examples of how Daddy’s money gives you a fast track to an easy life. The author has her main characters insist that they have worked very hard to prove that they deserve what Daddy gave them, but judging from their antics in this story, they clearly need to work harder for a while longer.
Therefore, I can’t find any reason to get emotionally invested in this story. It’s about two silly kids giving corporate culture a bad name while treating their love story like a teenager’s first crush. Seriously, the denouement has Alek going that he loves Alessandra but that can’t be right, as he doesn’t believe in love, and besides, he wants kids and a woman like Alessandra who’s into her job clearly won’t want kids. And that’s the sound of my forehead hitting the surface of the table. Additionally, I give the heroine plenty of side eye and probably a finger now and then too, as she can’t stand up to the hero at all, and in the process makes herself look weak while making Alek come off as doubly the creep in the process.
A Billionaire Affair is a well-written story, but yikes, the main characters and their romance don’t cut it.