Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86343-3
Romantic Suspense, 2014
If Only for Tonight has a standalone plot, but I’d recommend that people read the author’s previous effort A Tempting Proposal first before tackling this one. There are many annoying references to events from that book and appearances by characters from that book, like intrusive neighbors that keep tapping at the window and knocking at the door every other minute when one is trying to enjoy some me time in peace.
This one also has an FBI hero going undercover, and going under the covers of the heroine at the same time. It’s always a tricky premise, this. Put too much emphasis on the shagging, and the hero comes off like a grossly negligent twit. Put more emphasis on the suspense subplot, and the author has better work it in that one, or else the whole story comes off like the effort of an amateur who doesn’t know what she is doing.
Well, for this one… the heroine deep-throats the hero like a pro, until he goes, “Ooh wee!” every time his little head bumps against the back of her throat. Not what you are thinking, by the way – despite the presence of that word, there ain’t no golden shower fun time here, honey – just think of the laundry bill. Anyway, given the, er, depths the author goes to in her love scenes – “Ooh wee!” – I guess that makes up for the deficiencies in this story?
Our heroine is an event planner named Cydney Rayne. She is said to be free-spirited and adventurous, which is somewhat a lie as she only gets to have her first fling during her vacation at Anguilla when this story opens. We can’t have our heroines being too much of a skank, I guess. Anyway, she sleeps with that hot guy, but eight months later, that guy shows up messing around her work place. Shawn Miles is actually an FBI agent hoping to discover that Cydney’s boss is up to no good, but can he keep his mind on the job when Cydney is there to make him go “Ooh wee!” every other day?
It’s pretty clear right away that the author and me have a very different concept of what makes a man’s behavior attractive. Right away, when they meet again, Shawn makes crude suggestions that Cydney is gagging for more of him, and he’s doing this openly in a manner that can easily ruin Cydney’s reputation. Not only that, his behavior suggests to me that he seems to think lesser of women that he has slept with – they are now easy lays that he can make all kinds of crude come-ons to and they would put out just like that because they want him so bad, snort. The heroine finds such behavior an exasperating kind of sexy turn-on. Me, I think Shawn comes off right away like a creep that I would like to practice using a taser on, and my opinion never changes by the last page.
It’s even more bewildering when Shawn is supposed to lay low and do his undercover thing. He has no reason to treat Cydney like that right from the start – unless I accept that he’s just being the asshole that he is – as it makes more sense to treat her nicely and work alongside her like her BFF. Why risk being embroiled in a sexual harassment lawsuit from day one and jeopardizing the whole gig? It’s a formula that works, yes, to have the hero channel his inner sex fiend octopus, but in this particular story, with this particular context, the sex fiend octopus comes off like a brainless one who is just lucky that the heroine is even more brainless to find his behavior worth putting out to.
Cydney isn’t a prize either. Her behavior is inconsistent throughout the story. She says one thing, she does another thing. She wants to, she won’t. When she decides that she’s in love with Shawn, I don’t believe her because she behaves like she has no clue what she really wants all the time. She and Shawn have the most chemistry between the sheets – probably because they are too busy to talk and do stupid things – but outside the bedroom, they seem to be more annoyed with one another than they are in love.
While the love scenes can get steamy, I am not sure of the author’s description of the hero’s perpetual bulge as “rising” on demand. I keep seeing the bulge rising up up along the hero’s torso like an elevator, and I don’t think that is what the author has in mind. Bulges swell out, right? They don’t rise from the ground floor to the 34th story, surely?
The suspense subplot is a waste of time, by the way. It’s another standard half-baked affair with the usual stereotypical villain that exists only to reinforce how special the heroine is.
With another plot, If Only for Tonight would a standard mediocre tale of sexy sexual harassment, evil jealous skanks, and tons of appearances from sequel baits with some half-baked romance filling up the pages in between. The suspense plot only drives home how these elements of mediocrity are so wrong for it. The hero and the heroine come off as extra silly, and the way the author ineptly handles the suspense means that there is very little pay-off in the end. If you do want to read this story, I’d recommend skimming right to the love scenes. Those scenes can be sexy or funny depending on your tolerance level for the occasional purple and awkward phraseology, and, best of all, the characters are too busy doing… other things to be as obnoxious as they usually are.