Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86525-3
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen, Seduced by the Tycoon at Christmas is a special book. No, it’s not just because the grand boinking happens on Christmas, while all the other boinking in this series presumably took place on a mere weekday. Actually, the title is not entirely accurate, but still, Christmas, ooh. This book is also important because it’s the last book in Pamela Yaye’s The Moretti Millionaires series, hurrah. The entire series had been generally a “kill me with boredom” affair, so I’m writing this review feeling like I’m already drunk with joy and relief, without having even touched a drop of actual alcohol.
Romeo Moretti is hot property in the tabloids, and I spend the entire story wondering why. I know, it’s easy to say, “That’s because this is a story by Pamela Yaye!” but come on, this is serious. An author who has written so many books should be better than this, and by “this”, I’m talking about a story with basic elements in the premise that don’t make sense. Romeo is a businessman – don’t ask me what his business actually is; he’s another millionaire who probably poops out hundred dollar bills each time he sits on a toilet because he never seems to seriously work at all – and he’s hot and has dated every woman in town. So? Why is he so much featured in the tabloids? He doesn’t have a sex tape, doesn’t do Instagram, doesn’t have a reality TV show, and he is as bland as gruel. Yet, his ex-fiancée Miss Token Kimani Ho Plot Device is selling his story all over and she is even having a book out about him. Again, why? This guy is a bland, generic nobody. Who cares? He’s at least ten rungs below the Kardashian brother that nobody cares about when it comes to the “dick pics people are thirsting to see” list.
You’d think a man besieged by tabloid woes will be more careful about the women he’d like to slip it to, but the moment his vehicle collides with our heroine Zoe Smith’s, he is eager to do another kind of ramming at her. Unfortunately, Zoe is aware of his playboy status and isn’t keen on being another notch on his bedpost… until he gets within ten feet of her, that is, and she’s then panting to be rammed by his big hot Lamborghini Veneno front, back, and center.
The bulk of the story is Romeo gushing about how hot she is and how he thinks that he has finally found the perfect non-whore, non-skank woman that he can settle down with, while Zoe is all oh he is the perfect, most bestest, hottest squee baby ever. Seriously, I think she is ten years old because she behaves like boyfriends are ponies and she really wants a unicorn with a big horn for her true love. She actually gushes that she can’t live a day without him because he is her true love, and I have to check my skin for hives.
Now, this is (a) a story by Pamela Yaye, (b) a book in the Kimani line, and (c) a book in a Harlequin imprint, so the possibility of the hero calling the heroine a prostitute of skanky proportions within the last four chapters is… oh, 100% and sure enough, out of the blue, YOU ARE A LIAR AND A WHORE. A HOOOOOOOOOR! She runs away all blue and sad, learns that the bad person is someone else, tells the hero, the hero declares that she is once again non-whore and he will love her back, blames his temper on some encounter with a scumbag journalist, and she quickly forgives him because, as she puts it, she can’t live a day without him and he’s her true love. And she’s an imbecile.
Zoe is also a pushover. Her employers actually expect her to demand payment from Romeo as damages and hand over the money to them, to “invest” in the company, and she never tells them to go suck on lollipops. When she’s not aching to be pushed onto the mattress by Romeo, Zoe is being pushed and pulled in all directions by other secondary characters. She rarely does anything on her own free will here; almost everything she does here is the result of something that happens to her while she is drooling after Romeo.
What else can I say? This story isn’t just written like some shopping list in which the author merely ticks off all the tropes on that list. It’s also bizarrely structured. For example, Zoe is in an accident with Romeo, the cops are here, people are gawking, and she then launches into an internal exposition dump about how she came to be so good in Italian now that she’s living in Milan. What is this? Why is the author killing the momentum of a potentially gripping scene with meandering exposition that is probably better off shunted to a less intense scene? The author is back to being completely oblivious to some of the most glaring hypocrisy of her characters too. A notable example is how, once he has magnanimously decided to listen to Zoe’s explanation about how she never betrayed him, he would go, oh, how can the person Zoe loves and trusts stab her in the back like that. All I can think of is how he, a man who was gushingly calling Zoe the love of his life and telling her that they are going to be together forever just a while back, can instantaneously turn into a raving loony and accuse her of betraying him without any hesitation.
Seduced by the Tycoon at Christmas is not a well-constructed story by any means. The author sabotages her own scenes with ill-timed tangents, her characters behave erratically when they are not pretending to be twelve-year-old kids in love, and what little that counts for a plot is shoved either in the first quarter or the last quarter of the story with far too much pages wasted on the main characters’ tedious courtship. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s odd to come across an author who has written so many books but still displays little finesse in her storytelling craftsmanship. Still, there’s always time to tune up one’s act and take things to a higher level, so who knows, maybe a future book by this author will hit the home run? Who knows, indeed.