Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86423-2
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Noah Price is a father figure to our heroine, paediatrician Macy Carter, and a mentor to our hero, architect Derek Logan. Macy, who was adopted as a child, considers Noah her father even as she, at 35, still tries very hard not to sob over the fact that she located her birth mother but that woman didn’t want to embrace her with open arms. Anyway, Noah dies shortly after the story opens, but he leaves behind very nice things.
He had planned to build a new medical establishment with Macy before he died, so now he willed her a nice piece of land to build that place. He also leaves his architecture business to Noah. There is only one catch: Noah’s deepest wish is to see Noah and Macy together, so his will stipulates that Noah must be the one to help build the medical complex. Oh, and he leaves them a house each… which happen to be next to one another. Seriously, this guy is dying and he wants nothing more than to force two people to fall in love – I wonder whether he’d go to heaven or hell for that stunt. Then again, with all the goodies he is leaving behind, I’d happily marry Howard the Duck if I were Macy and that is what the will wanted.
Derek is a single father and he has trust issues when it comes to women. You know the story – they can’t be trusted, blah blah blah, so I initially cringe when he accuses Macy of trying to be funny when they end up living together. What, he thinks she’s Jean Grey and she somehow telepathically controlled Noah and made that will?
Still, after the initial burst of childish tomfoolery, A Dose of Passion settles into a comfortable, more realistic, and even tender moments. Oh, there are still some contrivances that stand out like sore thumbs, especially Derek’s tedious song and dance about how women are all determined to rip his heart to shreds, but there are also many scenes that resonate with me – hard. I have no idea whether the author is a mother or not, but those scenes of Macy with Derek’s son Jason resemble more like beautiful, bittersweet moments of close bonding between a child and a woman who is slowly learning to love him, rather than merely saccharine Hallmark moments. Those scenes feel very real, relatable, and they make me sit up straighter to pay more attention to this book.
And then it happens too – Derek and Macy start interacting on a more organic, believable moment. They talk, laugh, bicker, and argue with one another in ways that resemble those of two people who are in love, who also happen to have moments when they want to strangle the other person. I’m sure many of us can relate to those moments. Macy deals with Derek’s nonsense in a sensible manner while never allowing herself to be a doormat or martyr, and Derek comes to his senses in a way that is unexpectedly sweet.
My only disappointment here is that, well, aside from the often awkward contrivances injected into the romance to force the romance to happen, is that the author chooses to focus on Derek’s tedious, overdone man-against-the-hos drama rather than Macy’s issues with her biological mother. There’s a story there – if I were Macy’s mother, and I was in jail and had to give her up, and I was still jobless and had no prospects when I got out, you bet that I’d let Macy stay with someone that can offer her stability and security rather than take her back, even if it’s out of love. And guilt and regrets could be a powerful motivation to force her mother to reject being reunited with her. That story, I feel, would have added emotional poignancy to this story far more than Derek’s boo-boo drama would have.
Anyway, A Dose of Passion really surprises me – I never expected to like it that much, considering my uneven track record with the author’s books in the past. Believe me, I’m not being facetious when I say that I sincerely hope that this is the start of the author going on a roll and not, say, a case of a broken clock being accurate at least once in a while.