by Carmen Green, contemporary (2011)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86222-1
Judge Kimberly Thurman is being stalked and harrassed by people who bear a grudge against her, and our hero Zachary Hood decides to take up the case personally. Protecting people is the forte of the Hood Team, after all, and their 100% track record demonstrates that perfectly. Of course, these two also feel a powerful attraction between them, and we all know what happens next, I'm sure.
That Perfect Moment is a simple story, but it has one big hurdle to overcome: the very unconvincing portrayal of Kimberly as a tough, take-no-prisoners judge, because in this story, she's said to be tough, but she's... not. I have a hard time believing that a judge, who has seen and convicted some of the most cringe-inducing lowlives in the neighborhood, would be so naïve (that's the word the author uses) about the more dangerous side of her job.
For the first few chapters, I actually thought this heroine would be different, since it seems as if she ran straight to Zach the moment she thought she was in danger. But it soon becomes apparent, when the Kimberly's gay BFF shows up, that it was he who pushed her into seeking out Zach. When this fellow blabs everything to Zach, it also becomes clear that Kimberly failed to mention to Zach that she had been attacked shortly before. It turns out that Kimberly is another typical example of an idiot in danger. I don't understand why in the romance genre, heroines just love to give heroes who protect them a hard time - maybe protesting and resisting his efforts to keep her safe is another one of those behaviors that I am supposed to find virtuous. Maybe it's one of those "Who cares if I'm in danger? I need my freedom to go anywhere as I wish! Shut up, I am woman, hear me roar!" things?
At any rate, our heroine just has to live in an old house with barely any security measures, and not only that, she passes out several copies of her house key to various folks. She can't think of anyone who will want her dead - do remember that she is supposed to be a hard-nosed judge who takes no prisoners - because she trusts everyone she knows. In this story, Zach acts more like a lecturer and stern daddy than a lover, as he nags her about her casual attitude about safety. Kimberly pretty much spends the whole story going, "Oh, I see! Zach is so wise! I never realized how wrong I was!" That's fine if the heroine was some sheltered daughter of a millionaire, but Kimberly is supposed to be a tough, smart, and cynical judge who has been around the block!
On the bright side, Zach really does come off as someone who knows his stuff when it comes to protecting people. But at the same time, the author makes him a bit too smart, to the point that he comes off as omniscient. In the first few hours when he first meets Kimberly, he has deduced not only the motives of the cops who do not believe that she is in danger but her entire character and personality as well. It's actually unnerving how all-knowing he is. I may want to hire him if I am ever in danger and I have a few million dollars to spare, but he's too much of a know-it-all to spend a lifetime with. As this story demonstrates, his spouse would have to get used to being always the less intelligent of the two of them.
Since the Hood Team is so good at what they does, it makes sense in a perverse way that our main characters have so many opportunities to have sex when he's supposed to be (ahem) protecting her. But because the good guys are so amazingly good, the villains are clearly outmatched and therefore there is not much suspense to be had here.
That Perfect Moment, as a result, offers only sex and the hero always being right instead of compelling romance or suspense. But this one would have still reached the finish line with some semblance of success if the heroine had turned out to be what she was said to be. At the end of the day, I have to suspend my disbelief too much to fully appreciate this story.
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