Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21675-5
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Pierre LeBlanc is the hottest thing in New Orleans at the moment. He’s a food network star, a hotshot chef, and the current owner of the super-exclusive, always-packed restaurant Easy Creole Cuisine. The fact that he is so, so hot only increases the intensity of the screams of besotted women who line up to throw themselves at him. Understandably, our heroine Rosalyn Arnaud is tasked by her editor to deliver a scoop on Pierre. Our hero isn’t too keen on being scooped, though, as his mother once sent him and his sister on a bus to Houston, promising to meet them a week later, only to never be seen by any of them again. Therefore, he doesn’t like to talk about his family.
Still, he finds her irresistible, and he soon opens up to her even as he shows her all kinds of wonderful things a man can do for you when he’s being very generous with his huge bank account. And then, yes, that article comes out, because for some reason her editor decides that a banal story full of superlatives, written by a besotted and biased journalist, needs some spicing up, and at the end of the day, it’s that SAME OLD FREAKING STORY THAT FEATURES A JOURNALIST HEROINE. Journalism is bad, okay, and hot men with big bank accounts are the bomb. The end.
Okay, so this story is super predictable and the author is apparently determined not to inject anything new into the same old thing. I don’t know why, maybe her editor will burst into tears and gnaw off the head of a puppy if the author dared to step out of line even an inch, and dead puppies are always a bad thing. Still, to give Zuri Day credit, the scenes of the hero showing the heroine how generous he is with his time, sexual prowess, and most importantly, his money are perfect, dreamy vicarious moments – just what everyone needs to go a lovely place if only for a while. Pierre and Rosalyn are pretty likable characters too, which helps to make the story readable despite it being so “Oh my god, it’s the same old crock again!” kind of meh.
However, the beginning can be rocky when the author is determined to throw skanks at Pierre to show me how virtuous the heroine is in comparison. I also feel that the complete lack of a sense of surprise or discovery in this story can be easily remedied if the author hadn’t been so linear in her narrative style. For example, instead of telling me the hero’s sad bus stop story so early, why not have me discover it at the same time as the heroine? Let me discover something that make me go “Ooh!” in this story, please, as it is certainly predictable enough as it is – there is no need to tell me everything early on and leave me to go into autopilot mode for the rest of the story.
Anyway, French Quarter Kisses has its lovely moments to demonstrate that you can only find romance if that guy is loaded like mad, but on the whole, yeah, it’s that same old story all over again. If you’re in the mood for the same old kind of joy, then you’ll be in the mood.