Dafina, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4967-1602-6
Contemporary Romance, 2018
When I see a book with a title like Enticed by You and a cover like that, I expect something that is about 80% heavy breathing and moaning, 20% taking a rest during the refractory period. What I get instead is a Kimani talk-heavy formula in motion.
I was hoping that Dafina will be different, as it belongs to Kensington, and Kensington started and maintained Arabesque during its most plot-diverse, flavor-heavy golden years. Unfortunately, most of the current crop of Dafina authors are just rehashing the “rich people talk a lot about themselves” formula that Kimani rode into its own grave. Is this what readers of black romances want these days? I shudder at the thought. Unlike some other people out there, I don’t like to act like I am super woke and progressive because I blog or tweet a lot about how people need to read black romances once a year during Black History Month. I read romances featuring people of different ethnicity and cultures because I like the diversity. What I am getting from black romances, however, is a non-stop marathon of the combined monologues of The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Add in a heavy dose of misogyny and slut shaming while simultaneously celebrating male sluts as a sign of a desirable masculine trait, and I sometimes wonder why I am wasting time and money on these books.
Anyway, this book. It follows Touched by You, and contains some spoilers for the other book. Don’t even read the back cover synopsis of this book or this review if you don’t want to be spoiled. It’s not too late to press the back button.
You’re still here. Okay, here’s the spoiler: the nasty Wells daddy is now incapacitated. Our hero Parker Wells, Jr takes over the reins of the family company, and he is a far more benevolent man than his ruthless POS father. However, people tend to lump him with his father, so he has some distance to go in mending the rifts caused by his father to the community of Wellspring, Michigan. Meanwhile, our heroine Kennedi Robinson returns to town to join her aunt after her divorce with a nasty ex, and she soon starts something good with Parker. When they both aren’t busy talking to other people, of course. Some bad guy shows up at the last time for the obligatory drama, and the author also takes cheap shots at women who dare to wear make-up and get breast augmentation as well as strippers because, I suppose, I’m supposed to view such women as the root of all evil or something. In fact, there is a sentence here that lists down Parker’s father’s sins, and one of them is “marrying a stripper”. Apparently that ranks up there with “cheating unsuspecting workers” and “stealing land” as serious crimes against humanity. Oh, and as for Parker’s exes, they are predictably all sluts, sluts, sluts, sluts too.
This story reeks of, ahem, someone having plenty of residual issues when it comes to beautiful women that manage to snag all the hot men that, er, someone has always panted after. If only those hot men would realize what sluts those women are, they would have fought one another to marry this someone at once!
Aside from that, nothing really interesting happens here. Kennedi is worried that Parker may be sticking his fingers inside her bra to get her to persuade her aunt to sell the land to his company, but her doubts are quickly cleared within a few paragraphs and she’s back to talking to him again. He is a one-dimensional nice guy who only hates all his exes – sluts, sluts, freaking damn sluts – so his behavior never generates any uncertainty as to whether he’s being shady. Hence, there is really no long-term, interesting conflict here, just small, quickly-resolved ones that barely interrupt the cycle of meeting people, giving me the backstory of these people (even if these people will never appear again in the story, so don’t ask me why I need to know all that backstory), and of course, talking about everything from their issues, feelings, what they want to do, what they have done, what they will do next… Seriously, is the art of showing dead?
Worse, even when the author deigns shows me something once in a while, the character who is involved in that scene will rush off to spend the next scene relating the whole thing all over again to another character. Why? Why do something like this?
Enticed by You is a little less talky and draggy than the previous book, but not to the point of being even a little interesting. It’s just another story filled with meandering, uninteresting conversations of flatly-drawn clichés, and my only reaction to all of this is to say what-freaking-ever.