Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-269040-1
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Mia Sosa’s Love on Cue stories so far have been some kind of anomaly: from a technical aspect, they probably deserve one oogie more than what I end up giving them, but at the same time I have a hard time caring for the romance. This is an even bigger problem in Pretending He’s Mine, as the characters are stuck in a tired, played-out plot driven considerably by the heroine Ashley Williamson’s immature antics and psychology.
To be fair, Ashley’s growing up is her character arc in this story, and normally, I will try to be patient in order to enjoy the hopefully good pay-off. Here, however, her brother Chase has tasked his BFF and agent Julian Hart to watch over her, and yes, Julian’s hot for her but doesn’t act on it because, hello, BFF’s little sister, while she’s hot for him but hello, family issues, self-esteem issues, overshadowed by big brother issues, blah blah blah. She has to stay at his place because her most recent arrangement with a woman who blames her for that wandering hands of the woman’s boyfriend clearly didn’t work, they go round and round in circles about putting out or getting off the pot, and after all the merry go round, they then embark on a fake relationship thing for her to attend her brother’s wedding. Has the author run out of plots to come up with something this overdone and boring?
I suspect that my complete lack of enthusiasm for the plot bogs down my ability to become emotionally invested in this story. Even then, Ashley’s woman-child antics get old really fast, and her efforts at lacing her first person point of view with a mix of Buffy-speak and blog-speak increasingly grate on my nerves as I turn the page. As for Julian, oh, he has daddy issues, he is worried that he may get fired by his best friend, and he wants to bed some woman who at that time is incapable of committing herself into any kind of relationship or responsibility. Given that he is rich and hence doesn’t have to worry about paying the bills after losing a client, he is hot and therefore can attract any woman into his bed, and there is nothing to stop him from sleeping with Ashley as they are both consenting adults – excuse me for not being at the edge of my seat when it comes to his angst and what not.
Like the previous book, the narrative is clean, lively, and readable. However, everything about Pretending He’s Mine reeks of eau de dead horse, and the author doesn’t do enough to make the done-to-death aspects of her story interesting enough for me. I don’t care about the main characters and their issues one bit, and hence, by the time I close this one, I feel like I’ve been reading this thing for ten long years.