Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86442-3
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Is Seduced by the Mogul actually written by Pamela Yaye? The author actually has her characters analyzing themselves and going… hey, what a minute, they are being dumbasses so let’s take a step back and think things over. I’m knocked over, floored, and I mean all this in a good way.
It’s just a shame that the story is straight out of cookie cutter central to such a degree that it feels like a “fill in the blanks in the template” kind of romance at times. Also, the author’s trademark lapses in logic and “let’s bash hot women” (in this case, let’s turn the hero’s ex-wife into a cartoon punching bag and villain) are still here.
Dante Moretti, another one of those interchangeable “I’m hot and I’m loaded, and I hate all women because these snakes just want my money, like my ex-wife! Why can’t women love me for my winning personality instead?” dudes that populate this The Moretti Millionaires series, is a divorcé who is devoted to his son Matteo, never mind that he sees the boy like once every few months. How dare his ex-wife doesn’t take care of the kid like every good mother should! To be fair, the author has Dante acknowledging his own hypocrisy, so that’s something… until she then has Dante, the millionaire with everything at his disposal, laments that he can do nothing for his son. Still, Dante shows that he has the capability to analyze and learn from his mistakes, so that’s good.
When his wife proceeds with a suit to take custody of Matteo, alleging that Dante has been abusing the kid, our hero decides that the only thing that can tip things in his favor is to fake-marry his BFF, Jordana Sharpe, because such deception will always go down well in court should it be exposed. Dude’s a millionaire – he should just stop being cheap and bribe the judge instead, or maybe give a huge donation to whichever politician that will exert pressure to get the suit dropped.
Anyway, Jordana’s his perfect wife material because as you can guess, she gets offended at the idea of getting paid for nanny labor that she gives out for free on top of free sexing to the boy’s father, she doesn’t complain when she’s taken for granted, and her entire personality revolves around two things: having a travel agent-like personality to show Dante the wonders of Mexican food and culture, and constantly bursting into tears every other chapter. Really, our darling starts sobbing and going eek-eek-eek at even the slightest provocation, and she wants to be an actress in LA. That industry will eat her alive, and I don’t mean it in a nice sexy context. But again, to be fair to Jordana, she may cry like a broken pipe but she also doesn’t take crap from Dante. She actually is smart enough to realize that the man would likely go into a “I KNEW IT! YOU ARE A SLUT!!!” meltdown every few days for the rest of their lives together should she let him get away with that nonsense the first few times he does it. That’s good.
Hence, while there is nothing absolutely interesting in this admittedly cliché-laden paint-by-numbers story – if you have read a few stories with a similar premise, you will already know what you will get in this one – Seduced by the Mogul is still a revelation of sorts. I’m giving this one an extra oogie precisely because I’m floored by the self awareness displayed by the author when it comes to her characters’ actions. The story comes together very well and the romance is believable despite the silly things the characters can do, precisely because the characters show that they can be mature and reasonable enough to work things out. Therefore, this may be an average story under any other circumstances, but it’s also easily the author’s best work to date.