Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21652-6
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Isaiah Washington, a star forward with the Jacksonville Gators, is not exactly a player when it comes to bedroom games: his love life is mostly confined to that of his on-and-off girlfriend Bridget. Therefore, things get complicated when he develops an attraction to Angela Bouler, the guardian of a kid attending his basketball summer camp. Bridget or Angela? Angela or Bridget?
Because you go “Ugh!”, I should point out that Overtime for Love makes it pretty clear whom the right woman for Isaiah is, so this story isn’t some painful love triangle in motion. Interestingly, the author is more interested in hammering Isaiah into shape to be the perfect hubby material, instead of running a cat fight show. That’s right, Isaiah isn’t some all-hot rich bloke who can’t do wrong in the author’s eyes – in fact, he has some growing to do when it comes to respecting his lady’s space and decisions. This guy isn’t an arrogant ass or anything, he just needs a little bit more growing up.
Meanwhile, Angela is determined to be a self-sufficient woman. Usually, this kind of heroine will drag the story into that hell where she will stupidly refuses assistance even when she’s obviously screwed in so many ways, but here, the author instead serves up a heroine whose motivations are believable. Even when Angela is in love, she does not want to be completely dependent on a woman, and I can relate to that. Some romance heroines give off the vibe that they are going to accidentally end up killing themselves ten minutes after their husbands’ funeral, but Angela is one of those ladies who can take care of herself.
Therefore, there are two likable characters in Overtime for Love, with ample character development to provide some depths to these characters. I like that, as it’s far more often these days to find characters that are essentially walking meat tropes.
However, this one is also a very contrived story. For example, Bridget works as advocate by day and a waitress at a strip club at night, and then tells me that she has to be very careful about not letting word out about the latter as her daytime job bosses are “conservative”. Then why have that strip club job? If she needs money that much, surely there are some other types of part time jobs in the evenings that she can take up? Sure, the strip club is visited by very rich men so the tip is always great, but seriously now, if she loves that “respectable” job so much, it’s stupid to be a strip club waitress and then whine that dating Isaiah can endanger her daytime job. This is a very artificial type of conflict that makes the heroine look like she has turnips for brains.
And then, why I appreciate that Bridget is not a one-dimensional ho character, I don’t understand why she is so dementedly convinced that Angela is only after Isaiah’s money. She doesn’t want him for herself, and yet… she doesn’t want him to have anyone else? This character is a mess, as the author can’t make up her mind whether she wants Bridget to be a convenient ho bag plot device or not. She changes her mind every few chapters, so that poor character ends up being an unnecessarily unpleasant character who seems to be bipolar or something. And given how grating this character is, I can only scratch my head at how other secondary characters insist that Isaiah is “wrong” in wanting to be with Angela. Nothing Angela does marks her as someone who wants Isaiah’s money, so all these secondary characters insisting otherwise again is clearly a way for the author to generate more artificial conflict in this story.
Overtime for Love has some solid characterization footwork, but the conflicts in the story are as fake and annoying as can be. I suppose I really can’t have everything.