Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86472-0
Contemporary Romance, 2016
When His Southern Sweetheart opens, Amelia Marlow is doing the nasty with Nate Reyes. Well, good for them. Only, Nate is distracting Amelia so that his brother can meet and talk business with a lady being supervised by Amelia, a field producer, for a reality TV show. The other “date” gets leaked, and Amelia ends up being temporarily suspended. Considering that she needs to take time off to look into her sick grandmother anymore, in the end the whole “suspension” thing doesn’t factor much in the big picture. But Amelia blames Nate for her suspension – no doubt he uses his evil telepathic powers to command her to open her legs to him – so her revenge plan is to purchase him at a charity auction and then put him to work around her grandmother’s place.
In other words, this story is about two morons doing a lot of dumb things over nothing important.
What is remarkable here is how the author seems to be heavily invested in making her male characters as repulsive as possible. So, Nate is always smirking, being smug, acting cocky, and dismissing everything by claiming that he is so rich that he can just sign a check and make everything go away. He is said to be a remarkable lover, but given that he’d shagged practically every woman in his neighborhood, having him in your bed is like getting a participation trophy – congratulations, you’ve finally done what something so many people have already done, but now that you have caught up, so we will all make ourselves clap extra hard to make you feel better about your efforts, Nate’s brother Stephen, who was completely unlikable in his own book, is still the same here, only with extra bonus of the author describing cookie crumbs stuck in his beard while he is munching away.
The heroine for the most part is just silly, not repulsive and slimy like the man whose pee-pee she is going stupid over, but the author realizes at the last minute that she hadn’t used contrivances to forced Amelia to quit her job like every virtuous heroine should, our poor heroine is reduced to a literal weepy mess by the last page, so grateful that Mongo the Magnificent has finally deigned to love her forever and ever. Gross.
The author seems to have some kind of dissonance over how charming she thinks her heroes are and how they actually come off as. She may need to work on that, starting by permanently banning “smirking” and “cocky” from her list of positive verbs and adjectives to append to her heroes. I don’t have time to even pretend to like these types of swaggering jocks.