Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86385-3
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Why make the hero a fireman if you’re not going to make him do fireman things? I do wonder as I read Kayla Perrin’s Flames of Passion. A cynical part of me wonders whether the author has to write a series revolving around firemen for some reason, so she too out an old draft and used the “replace” function to change the hero’s actual job to “San Diego fireman”. The only hose the hero hoists in this story is that thing between his legs, so I hope people aren’t looking for The Towering Inferno when they read this book.
Nya Lowe, our heroine, has recently been ditched by her boyfriend. When the story opens, she bumps into her ex getting cozy with his new squeeze at a party, so she throws herself at a handsome stranger and kisses that man hard. She then accuses that man, Tyler Johansen (our firefighter hero) of being a pervert and what not, even as he correctly points out that she’s the one who forced her lips on him. This is just the start of Nya’s weirdly unaware behavior in this story. She has been dumped, but from the way she acts – right down to actually joining a support group for people who want to have sex only at the right moment after being hurt one too many times by broken relationships – it is as if she is suffering from some kind of severe addiction problem or psychological trauma.
Maybe I don’t get her, but I find the whole “I need daily chats with my fellow support group members as I over-analyze everything about me and Tyler” nonsense too overblown to be taken seriously. Yes, she got dumped, but people get dumped on a regular basis, big deal. Seeing her act like she’s about to die if her heart is broken again is perplexing. Having the plot hinge on this is head-scratching. Seeing her finally say to Tyler that she is “no longer afraid” to have a relationship with him, as if she’s finally overcome a drug addiction problem, has me wondering whether she’s going to be this melodramatic for the rest of her life. Can you imagine such a drama llama being happy married to a fireman? She’d probably go crazy complaining that he is not paying her enough attention once he has to go back to work.
It’s also pretty obvious to me that she’s not over her ex, no matter how much she claims she is, as a considerable number of her actions in her relationship with Tyler are actually reactions to that ex having a good time with his new girlfriend. That and Nya’s behavior generally being on the unlikable bitchy self-absorbed hag side make the romance in Flames of Passion feel like a rebound fantasy of an annoying wretch. As for Tyler, he’s that patient and perfect one-dimensional trophy boyfriend. I have no idea what is it about her that makes him keep going back for more punishment.
Flames of Passion isn’t fiery or passionate. It’s just a half-baked rebound romance story featuring a heroine who makes everything about her and her ex. Good luck with this relationship with Tyler surviving the year.