Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21657-1
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Chloe Blake is not a new author. Sure, A Taste of Desire is the first book in her first ever series for Kimani, Deliciously Dechamps (what?), but she has two books under her belt already. Therefore, I’m not sure why this one is so much like some debut effort written by an author who mistakes quantity for quality. The main characters are all kinds of conflicts and dramas all lined up in a neat queue throughout the story, and everything feels artificial and contrived.
The story first. Nicole Parks sells real estate all over the world, so she is busy, busy, busy. She wants a baby because she’s tired of waiting for the right man to come knock her up, but she’s settling only for adoption. Ordering some grade-A sperm sample for herself is not an option because, as she puts it, she’s too busy traveling all over the world to go through a pregnancy. And yet, for some reason she’s thinks that she’s not going to be too busy to be a mother despite not planning to change her schedule after adopting a kid. She is the only one dismayed when her applications to adopt a kid keep getting rejected. Oh, even those people with kids to give away are rejecting her now, boo-hoo. Nicole doesn’t get it, but that’s just her being her. In this story, she’s going to pull that me-me-me stunt that reveals an impressive lack of self-awareness laced on top of a healthy amount of self-absorption.
Her latest gig sees her flying to Brazil, where hero Destin Dechamps is determined to rebuild the family vineyard despite having encountered a series of setback. Thing is, his father wants to get rid of the winery, and Nicole is here to secure that sale on his father’s behalf. Her reaction when she lands and meets our hero is basically, “Me. Accommodate me. Do it my way. Me, me, me!” but Destin finds her so hot and sexy for some reason. And so the battle is on.
Many, many things happen here, mostly because the author cannot allow her characters to sit still even for a second for some reason. They are always running off somewhere, arguing, sparring, or doing their circular love-hate thing. There are evil hos and skanky sluts galore to throw themselves at Destin and drive Nicole histrionic. Emotions are always running high, often unnecessarily so. For example, Nicole will expect a phone call and it doesn’t come, so she’d proceed to react as if the entire world had taken a dump on her head. When Nicole is not running around hating-lusting after Destin or seething in fury at the so many skanks in the world, Destin is doing his best to come up with all kinds of reasons to reel Nicole in and then push her away. Oh, he misses his dead wife, or he suddenly remembers once his little head has cooled down that he’s not supposed to be lusting after women so he must drive her away for his own good, no he will now drive her away for her own good, and so forth. He and Nicole are very self-absorbed, only that she is a high-strung and abrasive type while he is a whining blowhard who looks for any excuse to posture and grandstand like some tragic martyr despite for a medal.
Throughout it all, I never get any good inkling as to why these two are in love, or whether they are even supposed to be in love in the first place. Even very late in the story, Nicole is still claiming that she hates, hates, hates Destin. Oh, and there are also various secondary characters jostling for attention – the predictable hot playboys and the neurotic women who would be paired with them in future books – so this is one very frantic, busy story indeed. The poorly developed romance and the unlikable main couple all make A Taste of Desire a hard pill to swallow.