Liquid Silver Books, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-62210-271-6
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Bella J’s Resplendent Ruin reads like a clichéd-addled justification as to why our heroine Juliette Mason should cheat on her fiancé Daniel. The reasons are practically a laundry list of things used by many, many authors before.
Let’s see. Daniel is driven by his ambitions and spends most of his time at work – a bad thing, because in romance, only billionaires who show no drive and no ambition other than to copulate with women they don’t respect can make great romance heroes. They have been together for ten years, engaged for five – another red flag. And here’s the clincher: Daniel has fertility issues. That kills his chances of finding true love – only men with functional baby juice are worthy of love, as love means sending the heroine to the maternity ward as frequently as possible.
Basically, Juliette and Daniel are about to be married. But Daniel is very busy building up their company. which means he often has to spend late nights at work and canceling on their planned dates and such. This sends Juliette into a spiral of melodramatic angst and despair, because she now feels that so many things have changed! Daniel doesn’t fawn over her or pamper her 24/7, so oh, let’s all sob with her as she flails around in her expensive cars and houses and dresses and what not, because heaven knows, the poor darling’s boyfriend is too busy working to pay the bills rather than to act like her favorite toadstool. As a result, Juliette sleeps with Knox Taylor, a roguish player who knows that she is engaged but doesn’t care anyway because he wants her and he wants her right away. How can any sane passionate woman resist such a gentleman of integrity? She cheats on Daniel, gets knocked up (DING DING DING THE REAL MAN WINS THE BABY LOTTERY), screams as Daniel and Knox punch one another, and then Daniel is forced to apologize – I HAVE NO IDEA WHY OH MY GOD – as she and Knox profess true love forever.
I will make this as painless for everyone as possible as this is a season for love and peace and what not – I’d be nice and just say that I would happily sit and have a hippopotamus projectile vomit all over my head rather than to read this story again.
It’s not like Bella J is an awful author. I just don’t know why she thinks I’d root for her death-worthy heroine and her asshole boyfriend after Bella J takes the trouble to give Daniel his point of view in this story, and the poor guy turns out to be… well, not that bad a fellow and certainly far too good for that complete waste of flesh. If anything, I’m mad at him for wasting ten years on this emotionally needy wretch with self-control issues. If he wants a loud, clingy thing in his life, why not just get a chihuahua? Far cuter and cheaper to maintain.
One way the author could have pulled this one off is by embracing the heroine’s inner scarlet strumpet, ramping up the camp and lurid drama, and having the heroine and her lover make no apologies for being such dogs. However, the author instead tries to make weak justifications after justifications for the antics of that tramp and her town bicycle of a boyfriend, and I end up wishing at least fifty antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea on those two wastes of flesh.
Resplendent, my ass.