Kimani, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-335-43303-9
Contemporary Romance, 2019
Will Hampton, a professional pest exterminator… joking, he’s actually a salesman. Hey, I’m kidding – the hero is not a member of the working class. The very idea! He’s a professional basketball player and be assured that he has slept with many, many women of easy virtue, and therefore we know that he’s a real man who can get it up at the drop of a hat. Mind you, those women are whores, but Will? He’s a hero. We love him! Eff those whores.
I tell you, if Thanos had the Infinity Gautlet and he lives in Kimani-verse, the people who would get wiped out would be beautiful women, models, actresses, and other women who dare to hurt the fee-fees of romance authors and readers. This line is truly Harlequin Presents with black characters, sigh. It’s not that I am generally against the use of other women in romance novels, mind you, so long as it’s done right and not as some cheap and lazy way to elevate the heroine. Still, with so many books in the line demonizing women who pose even a little competition to the heroine for the hero’s attention, I can’t help thinking that somebody has issues with beautiful and sexy women in general.
Oh, right, the story. Does it really matter, given how each Kimani story these days is basically “the hero and heroine meet, they fall in love, they talk a lot about boring things with other secondary characters, oh… and right, we need conflict to wrap things up at the last minute, so ta-da, here are some other women problems to show you that the heroine is truly the best!” rehashed over and over? Oh, alright.
Will is asked by his sister to show her BFF, Erin Fry, around town, and they end up having sex after connecting at many beautiful levels. He then leaves her an apologetic note the next morning about having to dash off to attend to some team emergency, and our heroine’s insecurities surge forth. He’s playing her, just like he played so many of his sister’s female friends! Boinked them, and then said sorry, things didn’t work, but they’d always be friends, ugh. As his sister Kelly tells Erin, so many of these women ended up cutting off their friendship with Kelly, but to Kelly’s consternation, they still send postcards to Will year in and out hoping that he’d come shag them again.
Hence, Erin quickly tells Will that they are never an item, but surprise, he’s determined to turn over a new leaf and be her serious boyfriend. Unfortunately, he’s going to be haunted by the spirits of hoochies past, as his reputation as a player in the bedroom as well as the court will continue to drive Erin all insecure and jealous. Worse, his “sexy maid” (as the author puts it) has designs on him while his sister isn’t exactly applauding his developing relationship with Erin. Can these two’s true love survive the machinations of these female haters?
If you have read enough of the recent Kimani stories, you can probably tell by the synopsis that His Pick for Passion follows the template of the line. Still, because this is the final book in the Scoring for Love series, I am mercifully spared of intrusive male secondary characters showing up for one-page cameos and two pages of information dumping that are irrelevant to the plot. The author’s narrative is upbeat and there is a genuine playful tone to the more teasing moments between Will and Erin, which helps to make these clichéd characters more memorable than they normally would be. The story moves in a focused direction, with no bizarre meandering tangents into nonsense like three paragraphs detailing the music played in the heroine’s favorite gyms or two pages on the favorite foods of the hero’s grandmother, who only showed up for two paragraphs in the entire book.
In other words, this is a readable version of the standard Kimani fare these days. It’s even fun at places. It’s still a very generic kind of story, though, with nothing interesting or new to offer. Read it, leave it – the choice doesn’t matter in the end because chances are, we’ll all come across a similar story in this line soon enough.