Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86524-6
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Well, it’s nowhere near Christmas when I read Carolyn Hector’s A Tiara Under the Tree, but the author has served up a pleasant escapist fantasy that will fit in nicely during any time of the year. After all, why wait for Christmas to read about this hunky, sensitive, kind, and absolutely loaded guy putting the lady on a pedestal?
Waverly Leverve is a beauty queen who recently suffered a PR disaster. She gave some well-deserved dressing down to an insolent journalist, and she didn’t hold back on the whole “go fornicate with yourself” thing, and the whole thing was caught on tape. In the ensuing media drama, she was forced to return her Miss South Georgia crown and her ugly-crying face as she did so became everyone’s favorite meme on the Internet.
Hence, when the story opens, she is feeling all sorry for herself as she stuffs her face with cake. It’s not like she has burned all her bridges though – the beauty pageant circuit legend Lexi Pendergrass Reyes, who also happens to be her mentor, wants her to try out for the Miss Southwood title. Lexi hosts that pageant and is Waverly’s BFF, but hey, what’s a little unethical shenanigans between friends. She also bumps into former bad boy turned super rich mechanic Dominic Crowne (dude collects classic cars like they are Matchbox toys, and goes back and forth to Dubai for both fun and pleasure on a regular basis), and ooh, she always has a thing for bad boys with tattoos. That he has committed to sponsoring a pageant prior to bumping into Waverly is surely a sign that they are meant to be.
That’s basically the story here. Hot babe falls for hot filthy rich dude, despite the two of them not really looking for love, and the whole thing is just lovely. There are no painful screaming matches with psychotic exes or evil mommies, no awkwardly inserted suspense subplot, none of the typical things that pop up more times than I’d have liked in a book in the Kimani line. The main characters are likable people despite the fact that a part of me would love to murder them for their wealth, and I especially like how Waverly is allowed to have a love life prior to meeting Dominic without being punished or humiliated for it. The author allows the heroine to be in charge of her destiny and to make her own decisions when it comes to her career and heart, and the result is a fun romance which sees the hero and the heroine being all silly and lovey-dovey on an equal footing.
The only potential downside to this story is that there isn’t much going on in the plot department, so readers looking for something more action-driven, for the lack of a better word, may find this one tad slow moving. Me, though, I like the two main characters and I enjoy their romance. The whole “A hot, rich bloke offering me a grand life full of unlimited spending power, great sex, and hot loving!” thing going on is hard to resist. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Christmas, Chinese New Year, or any other holiday – A Tiara Under the Tree is a nice, fun getaway to that wonderful world full of hot guys waving money and love at one’s face. It’s almost a shame to have to go back to the real world, sigh.