by Lindsay Evans, contemporary (2014)
Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86338-9
Our heroine Bailey Hughes is a financial advisor who hangs out with playboy Marcus Stenfield because it allows her to network with wealthy people that make good clients. She doesn't actually approve of that man's lifestyle or that of his friends. When she meets Jamaican sculptor Seven Carmichael, however, her resolve wavers. He's hot, he's cute, and he's persistent without being too much of a creepy stalker. Can a girl put out to such a man without getting her heart broken?
As a debut title for this line, Pleasure Under The Sun offers some tantalizing promise about Lindsay Evans's ability to deliver something gorgeous in the future. There is a sharp, crisp kind of humor here that works very well in the urban setting of the story. Also, the author can set up some good scenes, such as Seven's persistent determination to score a date with Bailey. That one comes off as more romantic than creepy - very romantic, actually.
The thing is, the story is still the same old tired kind of blah. Much of the conflict arises from the heroine making gross generalizations about men - and Seven - based on how she has been hurt before and that her useless father was an artist. Therefore, she spends most of her time on the watch for some kind of sign that Seven is just another asshole like every man in this world, and when she spots a straw that she can grasp, she goes into hyperbole overload. Seven suggests that they take a trip to Jamaica? This means he doesn't respect her or her ambition so, yes, he is just an artist like her father, she knew it, so it's time to pout and go boo-hoo-hoo.
A lot of the drama can be avoided if she would calm down and talk to the guy to clear the air. It's not like he's an unreasonable fellow. By the last page, it's actually sweet how much he is willing to compromise or concede to remain with Bailey. Therefore, this story ends up making Bailey look like an unreasonable and even occasionally unhinged shrew. She can't make up her mind and her feelings change from hot to cold and hot again, so much so that I can only deduce that Seven must really like babysitting little girls that much to want to marry this creature.
Pleasure Under The Sun has some potential - the author's style is appealing - but it just has to have a tired boring plot that relies heavily on the heroine jumping to wild and wrong conclusions to create conflict. Oh well, maybe next time.
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