Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86268-9
Contemporary Romance, 2012
Reading this story, I get the impression that Five Star Temptation came to be when Jacquelin Thomas was inspired to focus on the plight of the homeless. Sure, that could be good, but what I ended up with is basically the same old rich, perfect people story the author had been writing non-stop for ages, only with preachy, even nagging lectures about how everyone should dry hump a homeless person – with love and charity, of course – today and everyday.
Ryan Manning, a hotshot columnist who writes as RG McCall for various magazines and newspapers, decides that he will write about homeless people next. Given that his most recent article was a scree about how women are all desperate, man-thirsty creatures the moment they hit 30 and are still single, I’m not sure he goes from petty to charity, but then again, “cohesive” and “well structured” are the last descriptions I would use for this thing. He decides to go undercover and pose as a homeless guy to… I suppose the word is “investigate”, but what I get is him barking questions at the various homeless people stereotypes he comes across like some military instructor ordering new recruits around. Meanwhile, despite trying to look like a homeless, he is hot enough to intrigue our heroine, the very wealthy Sage Alexander, who deduces that this man is way too educated and hot to be, er, a real homeless people or something. She sets him up in her fabulously luxurious hotel. they become friends and then lovers, and then she discovers that he’s actually a wealthy writer and EEEEE, and a few pages later, they make up, get married, the end. Oh, and they open some charity for the homeless in the epilogue.
The paper-thin plot here is basically the same old standard “I fall in love with a guy with a secret, and I learn of it right at the most inconvenient post-coital moment EEEEEE!” story, right down to how because he is a man, he doesn’t have to quit his job out of shame as a result of his deception. The quitting out of shame thing only applies to heroines, don’t you know. For a long time, this is a typical tale of boring people talking about how awesome they are when they are not lecturing me about how the homeless are suffering, while they themselves loll around in the lap of luxury. Is this where I tell these champagne socialists to eat cockroach and choke? The whole help-the-homeless angle is so disconnected from the rest of the story, it may as well be some badly done PSA ads shoved into various breaks in this story. I never once believe that these two are genuine about helping the homeless… but then again, given how stilted and flat everything about them are, I never once believe they are human beings either.
Aside from being boring, this story is also written without much thought given as to whether there is continuity or not in how things progress from one point to another. In fact, things may contradict one another within a page or two. For example, Ryan bitches and moans about how the homeless are suffering, so his article is going to focus on… discovering whether Sage’s father is a meanie who doesn’t donate money to the homeless. How is such an article going to improve things? This is just bitching and gossiping – nothing will be done about the homeless as readers will just focus instead on how Malcolm Alexander spends his money. Then, Ryan bitches that his ex-wife made his life hell during their marriage, before telling me that he was never really around much anyway during that time because he was busy. What, the ex-wife had telepathic powers and managed to send her nagging into his mind even when he was thousands of miles away?
These are just some of the handful of main plot points that don’t make much sense when I think about them a little deeper. The author is just writing stuff here just to make sure that her tropes are present. Logic and everything else can take a hike.
All in all, Five Star Temptation is a boring and often contradictory mess. I’d recommend folks giving this one a miss unless they really want to punish themselves for whatever reason.