Liquid Silver Books, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-62210-234-1
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Kate Kleider’s ex, Brian, is getting married. Ouch. And he has to invite her to the big day. Ouch. Kate told herself in the last three years that she’s so over him, but you know how it is. Naturally, she’s going to the wedding. Brian’s the closest she’d ever come to falling in love with someone, and… well, I guess this is just one of those things that one can’t stay away from. She needs a date for the big day, of course, but Kate’s not seeing anyone at the moment. Her boss says that he can get her connected to one of those agencies that supply discreet male escorts, and she’s like, no thanks, ugh.
As it happens, her company is involved in sponsoring a charity run, and Kate bumps into Jamison Rigby. He’s a surfer dude who looks exactly like a hot surfer dude, and he also runs a surf shop. Could he be her perfect date to her ex-boyfriend’s wedding?
Be careful, Falling Forward starts out like a romantic comedy, but it morphs into a bucket full of angst by the time it reaches its second half. Lots of parental issues rearing their ugly heads, with some screaming and shouting along the way.
The romantic comedy is fine. This story is told from Kate’s first person point of view, and Kate has a vibrant, sassy voice that I like. She has a good sense of humor and some self awareness, and I feel that she could very well be someone whose company I’d enjoy. Because of the first person point of view, Jamison’s personality feels muted, and most of the time, he’s like that trophy boyfriend created just for rebound flings. Oh yes, I said “rebound” – if the romance has a weakness at that point, it’s that I can’t shake off this feeling that Kate’s “feelings” for him are driven by a need to make herself feel better, even loved, after hearing news that her ex is marrying another woman.
The second half is actually stronger in the sense that I really enjoy all those crazy and fiery emotions flying about. Yes, we have the usual crazy parent drama, but the author makes Kate a sympathetic character by this point, and her raw emotions can scorch if I am not careful. Unfortunately, Jamison almost negates everything great in this part of the story by coming off as a patronizing know-it-all. He acts like he has the right to tell Kate how to grieve and behave when he has no clear idea what is going on, and then gets all self-righteous and offended when Kate tells him to get lost. I don’t know if it’s the author’s intention, but Jamison ends up being one of those finger-wagging listen-to-me Daddy-knows-best types that never fail to make me roll up my eyes.
At the end of the day, I like the heroine, and I like this story. But the hero’s transformation from carefree beach bum to self righteous creepy Zen-daddy leaves a lot to be desired, though, and I finish this story wishing that Kate wouldn’t end up with him. She does, of course, so I guess this story isn’t as great as I’d have liked it to be.