Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86372-3
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Indulge Me Tonight has a quaint premise: get all the dysfunctional Clegg family members together in a luxurious resort – including our heroine Tielle Turner who was once married to Graedon Clegg – and have them all hash their issues while Tielle and Graedon rekindle their romance. The whole thing screams trashy soap opera from the 1980s, and I, for one, am ready to enjoy every minute of it.
And then the hero shows up, and the resort quickly becomes a heartbreak hotel, so to speak.
Here’s the thing: the reason Graedon divorced Tielle is enough to make me wince, and the fact that he finally decides that he wants the wife back just because he feels like it makes me wince some more. When he first meets Tielle in the resort, he blocks her way out and forces her to the desk as he looms over her and tells her what she should do when she’s in his presence. He’s not in a good mood, you see, and that woman has better not make him feel worse. Sure, he apologizes later for this and for putting his hands on her like she has “Come touch me all over! No need to ask!” stamped all over her body, but he turns this into a “You’re too sexy, so I can’t help it!” thing. Again, I’m going to wince town.
Her concern was actually for her ex-husband. Grae had all but told her she’d be wise not to let herself be caught alone with him.
Yikes. Why would Tielle want to be with such a man again?
It’s bad enough that the man holds himself completely unaccountable for his tendency to intimidate and molest the heroine, our heroine accepts this and tells herself that she has to stay away from him. Not that she wants to, mind you, because she’s still thirsty for him. That’s the pattern of this romance: she’s always hanging on and panting after him, no matter what his treatment of her is, and when he beckons, she quickly assumes the position. The entire relationship happens on his own terms and pleasure, and given that he is an asshole, the whole power imbalance comes off as really creepy.
The sad thing is, Tielle isn’t like this with other characters in this story. She doesn’t take any crap from them. She gives back as good as she gets, and hence, it is all the more disappointing that she lets herself be pushed all over the place by the asshole.
As for the other secondary characters, they can be adorable, especially when they point out the absurdities of their circumstances.
“All families have issues, honey.” Desree’s reminder was soft.
“Damn right,” Asia blurted. “And none that require a bloated getaway in some overpriced resort.”
Really, the whole premise reminds me of the more entertaining, absurdist arcs of the old-school Dynasty or Dallas soap opera stuff, and I can easily love this story very much. Only, each time Grae talks, acts, or does anything, I am forcibly reminded that any relationship with this fellow will very likely end in heartbreak, and even then, he’d gaslight the poor lady into thinking that whatever he did, he did it because he loved her too much. This relationship gives me the creeps instead of warming my heart, and hence, Indulge Me Tonight is a no for me.