Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86460-7
Contemporary Romance, 2016
While Return to Passion is Carla Buchanan’s first Kimani book, it’s not her first ride at the rodeo, so I guess I don’t have to be gentle. There are three problems standing in the way of one’s enjoyment of this story.
The first obstacle is the plot. Simply put, about ten years ago, Camille Ryan discovered that her calling is to write erotic romances. Well, good for her, but because her small town is full of conservative God-fearing types, she eventually broke things off with Remington Kane because she wanted to write fifty shades of doggy style without bringing shame to him and her family. By the way she goes about with the angst, you’d think that her erotic stories involve barnyard animals or rotting corpses, but alas, that is not the case. She’s back in town when her father collapses from a problematic heart, hoping to take care of him, and she falls for Remington again. But alas, when she learns that he’s running for mayor, she must leave him again! She’s already writing under a pseudonym, for heaven’s sake, so I don’t know she’s being so melodramatic.
And then when it’s out in the open that she writes erotic romances, the whole town embrace her with open arms, so yes, basically Camille’s impersonation of that possessed girl in The Exorcist is all for nothing. Hurray!
Oh, and she’s a virgin. The heroine is a successful erotic romance author who can wing it based on imagination alone – how believable is that, I suppose, is up to the reader; I’m not sure I buy it, myself. But even more unbelievable is how she soon experiences multiple orgasms under Remi’s ministrations. For supposedly religious people, these folks seem unbelievably orgasmic and skilled in bed – aren’t they supposed to do sex things only after they are married? Maybe Jesus is taking their wheels when they want to experience heaven on earth.
The second obstacle is the hero. On his own, Remi is an appealing hero in that he embodies very attractive Mr Nice Guy attitude. However, when he’s with Camille, the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head. No, I’m not talking about his pee-pee, I’m saying that he gets jealous over the most ridiculous reasons, and says some pretty mean “You are a whore!”-type things as a result. My problem with this is that the wife is an erotic romance author. She writes sexy stuff. So, how long will it be before he starts wondering whether her heroes are inspired by other people… like her male BFF that he has issues with? That man gets worked up with insecurities a bit too easily for my liking, and the author doesn’t resolve that in a way that convinces me that he’d be fine with the heroine’s job in the long run.
It also doesn’t endear him to me when his “romantic declarations” to Camille are basically of the you-are-mine, put-out-now sort. I suspect the author wants him to be more of an alpha male by making him this way, but the guy just comes off as bipolar.
To add to the creepiness, Camille declares that she loves his “possessiveness” and “his need to touch her constantly”. Oh, and the fact that he refuses to sleep with the skanky ho who competes with her for his pee-pee is evidence that he is loyal to her. For her sake, I hope she doesn’t wake up one day to realize that she’s married to a control freak who has her on a very tight leash.
The third, and biggest, obstacle is the author’s writing style. She is very fond of repeating the same details to the point that the characters seem to be trapped in some kind of time loop thing, especially in the first third or so of the book. These characters can belabor a point so often that it’s like they are desperately trying to remember the list of things they have to buy at the grocery or something. The pace of the story gets bogged down to a crawl as a result of this.
If I can somehow convince myself that the three obstacles above do not exist, the story is still on the stale side. The heroine is pitted against the evil skank ho who wants Remi – as if there isn’t enough of this tired old-ass shtick in the Kimani line already. That woman is predictably one-dimensional and nasty. The thing is, the author could have easily made this story more interesting by, say, making the two women become unlikely friends or something, as it’s not like there isn’t enough melodrama to stand between Remi and Camille. But no, the author just has to do that boring old-ass thing again, sigh.
Return to Passion, at the end of the day, is marred by both technical issues and head-scratching plot. So, return to the drawing board instead?