Kimani, $6,50, ISBN 978-0-373-86347-1
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Nicole Carter’s dream has come true. She is now an assistant designer at the creatively-named Alexander’s Fashion House and she has always wanted this job. Only, she arrives in Paris to start work one week later than scheduled (she has a wedding to attend) and she can only hope her boss Alexander James isn’t too mad. He isn’t too pleased, and they exchange some barbs, so you know it’s true love. Basically, Nicole likes Alexander but she believes that she shouldn’t shag the boss, but Alexander is pursuing her and oh, she can’t resist all that manliness. Meanwhile, Alexander has trust issues because he has been burned by love before and now all women are lying bitches, blah blah blah. Some subplot arises later in the story when Alexander suspects that Nicole may have betrayed him. The romance, therefore, is basically all about the hero taking the time going from “All women are bitches!” to “All women are bitches… except for my boo over there BUT SHE BETTER DON’T PULL A HO ON ME!” and it’s as predictable as can be.
There are some serious plot issues in the previous books by this author that I’ve read, so Our First Embrace being merely predictable is probably a good thing in this respect, heh. The first half or so of the story is unfortunate, however, as it has Nicole getting worked up over a boss that is very open about wanting to see her naked. The fact that she wants to be naked in front of him makes the story “romantic” rather than creepy, but the way the author deals with this matter also puts only the woman in the spotlight over something that could easily be a sexual harassment matter under other circumstances (such as if the guy is ugly). It seems like it’s up to her alone to deal with the possible ramifications of a workplace romance, and the fact that he’s her boss only adds some creepy power imbalance into the equation. Her colleague going. “Oh, it’s France, it’s okay to sleep with the boss!” doesn’t help – this only gives pressure to the heroine to put out.
Also, the author has her characters saying things that people normally wouldn’t say unless they are reading out loud excerpts from a bad first draft.
“I want you to say what’s in your heart, but you won’t do it, will you?”
“Why can’t we just keep things the way they are and you enjoy the time we have left?”
“Why do you insist on limiting us?”
Who speaks like that in real life?
Aside from this, the rest of the story is pretty predictable. Is she a lying ho? Would he get over his trust issues and tell her that he loves her? I’ve read all this before, and most of them at least feature characters that speak like actual people.
Our First Embrace is one of the better books by this author, but it won’t measure up well if I compare it to many of the books with similar premises by other authors.