Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86368-6
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Hmm, for a moment I thought I was reading a story by AC Arthur, because Captivated Love is pretty heavy handed in its delivery of the messages which the author felt are very important. That’s usually the style of AC Arthur, heh. Don’t be fooled by the cruise ship on the cover, by the way, as this story takes place almost entirely on land in the Miami area.
Safire Lewis is a paralegal who is trying to figure out what she wants to do in her life. Should she go back to law school and become a lawyer, or should she become a literature teacher? One thing, though: girlfriend here likes to go after what she wants, and she really likes what she sees when Darien James walks into the law firm where she is working to work out some things om behalf of the Heritage Community Arts, Education and Resource Center. Darien wants to take things slow, but the power of Safire’s hypnotic mojo is too much to resist, and soon they’re in bed together.
Here, we have an interesting conflict for a change: the guy becomes clingy and possessive, and his girlfriend is not tolerating his crap at all.
Captivated Love is an interesting read because there is some kind of role reversal here, as usually it’s the hero who is the player and the heroine is the one having an epileptic fit over other women clinging to our hero. It is also worth noting that the author actually has Darien be the one who needs to do some soul searching in the end. Safire, despite having the temerity to make the first move on a guy that catches her eye, never has to be subjected to guilt or to be made to apologize for her “sins”. I like this.
Unfortunately, clingy behavior is never attractive, whether it’s the man or the woman doing the clinging, and the trouble here is that I don’t see why Safire would want to deal with Darien’s continuous passive-aggressive mood swings. It’s good that the man gets an epiphany in the end and realizes that he’s unfairly projecting his ex issues on Safire, but for the most part, he’s such a weird cry baby. I like that Safire isn’t afraid to walk out or toss him out on his ass whenever he starts getting all mean and creepy on her, but I don’t know why she keeps taking him back because for a long time, that guy hasn’t any good feature apart from his physique and his apparently amazing skills in bed. I feel like Toni Braxton in her song He Wasn’t Man Enough for Me, telling Safire in dismay, “But you married him!”
Oh well, at least Yasmin Sullivan dares to break the rules a little and lets the heroine do her thing naturally while daring to tell the man he’s wrong when he’s… well, wrong. I just wish she’s shown me a little more clearly why the big crybaby Darien is worth anyone’s time for pretty much the entire novel barring the last few handful of pages.