Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86509-3
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Ashton Rollins is a 28-year old hot millionaire who manages an aeronautics company. Haley Adams is a 28-year old hot heroine who does… something. Oh, and she is in need of money desperately to save some non-profit because those people really take the “non-profit” part of their organization a little too literally. Then again, aren’t we all in need of money? Where is my millionaire going to show up and just press some buttons on his phone to transfer lots and lots of money to my bank account, just like Ashton does here, huh? Sometimes, reading romance novels is like reading other people’s Facebook posts – it never fails to drive home the inadequacies of one’s life, sigh.
So these two meet, they have fun, they have great sex, and I yawn. Beautiful people having perfect love – if I am at the edge of my seat, it’s because I need to get up and use the toilet.
Secret Miami Nights does have some conflict, but like many file-by-numbers Kimani romance, they show up most prominently in the first and last few chapters – Ashton dwells on it now and then, but that’s about it – so the conflict feels oddly compartmentalized from the rest of the story. Basically, Ashton’s parents are pure evil – they insist that he will date and marry only the women they approve, and Ashton once tried to defy them by wanting to marry an unsuitable lady. The poor thing died in an accident before he could marry her – he was in the vehicle with her – and his parents point out gleefully that the accident was caused by Mia being under the influence. If I were these parents, I’d rather be spending my days wasting my money and having the time of my life, instead of wasting time trying to pull off an eugenics experiment with my son, but that’s why I’m too sane to star in a Kimani romance. These two waste their time controlling, sabotaging, and gaslighting their songs for no discernible reason other than they are one-dimensional plot devices.
So, Haley is unsuitable, of course. I like her – she refuses to let any parents, hers or his, tell her whom she should see and shouldn’t. Ashton, however… let me just say that his character arc is basically that of a twenty-eight year old man finally finding the courage to do what he wants, instead of letting his parents dictate his choices. I’m happy for him, I really am, but I don’t find such a story line interesting. He’s twenty-eight! He’s independently wealthy! Cry me a river that the poor darling doesn’t like his parents.
Oh, and Ashton is creepy. Despite Haley’s lip service about how she is an independent woman and she doesn’t like that Ashton is disrespecting her by solving all her problems for her – I wish someone will disrespect me that much, I tell you – she still lets Ashton make decisions for her and what not anyway. Our hero gets overcome by violent jealousy when he sees Haley even talking with another man, and he also puts her on a pedestal so much that I wonder how he will react should he realize that she’s human like everyone else. He is also prone to melodrama – whenever they argue, Ashton would go into “I have lost her – forever!” mode and I can only roll up my eyes because, dude, she’s just in the next room. Really, I roll up my eyes a lot while reading this story.
Still, all things considered, this is actually a good Pamela Yaye story when my only quibbles are the overwrought evil parents, the hero being far more creepy than the author intended him to be, and the conflict haphazardly crammed into the last few chapters for a rushed closure. There are no overload of skanks, no ridiculous communication issues, no over the top purple prose, not too many outright illogical nonsense in the plot – seriously, this is a great Pamela Yaye story. Too bad it’s still a boring story for the most part. I still say read Secret Miami Nights only if you are a die-hard fan or you really have nothing else to read.