Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86355-6
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Amina “Mina” Gaines left the military about two years ago when her boyfriend was killed while they were both serving in Afghanistan. Currently, she is staying with her grandfather in the Cherokee reservation in the Great Smoky Mountains would help her find her inner peace and let her soul heal. When the story opens, the two of them witness a plane crashing into the woods, and Mina goes off to look for the plane while her grandfather goes back home to call for help.
There is only one survivor of the crash – Jason “Jake” Wolfe. With a name like that, is anyone surprised that he is an undercover DEA agent? He was undercover, transporting some drugs for Charlie Betts, the man the DEA is hoping to nail to the wall, when he and his co-pilot discover too late that their cover is blown and Charlie has had the plane sabotaged. So down goes the plane, oops. Mina isn’t dumb – she sees the packages around the crash site and soon deduces that Jake must be a drug dealer of some kind.
Jake soon lets her in on his true job and his mission, which is probably a good thing as the DEA intends lo let news spread that there are no survivors of the crash. This would lure Charlie out to retrieve the drugs and they want Jake to be in charge of this gig. However, this gig puts Mina and her grandfather right in the heat of things, and Jake has better do his thing to ensure that those two don’t end up being collateral damage.
Oh, and yes, Jake and Mina discover that they are attracted to one another. This is, after all, a romance novel.
Janice Sims has the knack to write such marvelously sane and likable main characters. and she does that same thing in Safe in My Arms. Both characters are capable, likable, and free from annoying one-dimensional quirks. They both seem like regular people instead of another rehash of a familiar stereotype. Mina and Jake both have some unhappy matters in their past, but they don’t let these issues define their character. There are also no silly miscommunication issues or jumping to wrong conclusions here. Everyone is reasonable, how nice.
There is a danger of such a story becoming dull, but the author’s easy prose and her characters’ chemistry manages to keep things interesting. Also, Mina and Jake make a good team, and I always like stories of this nature. However, there are some instances where, I feel, the author could have done some showing instead of just dumping a whole lot of information on me. While these moments aren’t many, they do stand out in an otherwise seamless read.
My only serious issue here is how the villains are for the most part stock cartoon bad guy types. They tell everything to the good guys without much prompting, and they are also incompetent when compared to the good guys. The difference between the capable good guys and the barely capable bad guys makes it hard for me to take the suspense plot seriously. The good guys are going to win – it’s too obvious here, and it’s just a matter of time when that happens. I also wonder how the bad guy manages to elude the DEA for so long, since he doesn’t seem that sneaky or cunning here at all.
Ultimately, the romantic suspense part is a bit of a flat affair due to the incompetent villains, but there is a strong romantic core in Safe in My Arms that makes it an entertaining read.