Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21663-2
Contemporary Romance, 2018
Reese Ryan’s Kimani titles had been on a downward slide for me, hitting a new low with Playing with Seduction, but she bounds back with style in Seduced in San Diego. This one is part of the never-ending multi-author series Millionaire Moguls, and this one focuses on the San Diego chapter of that millionaires-only dude club. You see, everywhere in America has at least one chapter because we all know the romance novel equivalent of America is flooded with millionaires. You sneeze and your flu viruses will be erotically inhaled by at least seventeen handsome millionaires all built with brick abs and big wallets. Oh, if only real life is like that.
Anyway, I don’t fully understand why I like this story so much, as the plot makes my eye roll more often than I’d like to admit. Maybe if I give the synopsis, I’d be able to figure the reason out along the way.
Jordan Jace is an artist. A rebel artist… well, that is, if you consider someone who drives a black Karma Revero, wears “overpriced, tattered jeans”, and expensive T-shirts with hipster taglines like “Icon” a rebel. Seriously, this guy is as rebellious as a blogger in San Francisco who doesn’t drink soy, and of course he is also of old money, having survived the “starving artist years” of his youth by living off his trust fund. Don’t laugh at him, though – now that his artistic crap is hanged from the condominium and penthouse walls of his fellow rich people, he proudly declares that he doesn’t rely on his parents’ money any more. Isn’t this guy awesome?
To be fair, other people poke fun at his “rebellious artist” shtick, pointing out that he can’t really call himself a self-made man when he built his career on the dollar bills of his parents, so I suspect the only person who uses the word “rebel” without any irony is the person who wrote the synopsis on the back cover. That same fellow describes Jordan as “nothing conventional”, so there you go.
At any rate, someone is setting Jordan up to be the fall guy in the recent break-in at the dude millionaire club, and I have to confess here: drama involving rich people arguing about their membership rules always puts me to sleep. Here, some of the guys – good guys, of course, guys whose books everyone is supposed to buy – want to break down the “elitism” of the membership rules, because the world will automatically become a better place when filthy poor people are allowed to join clubs alongside pampered rich brats. So interesting, that – I can’t imagine why I keep yawning through all that intrigue!
Oh yes, back to the romance. Our heroine is Sasha Charles. She’s a marketing consultant hired by Jordan’s mother to improve his image. Because being a pampered artist who made his career by wiping his rear end with daddy’s millions, who also joins some dude millionaire club as that’s the most edgy, emo thing a rebel artist can do – oh, all that is bringing shame to the man! Anyway, our heroine decides to start off her gig by wearing her most sexy dress and generally acts like she’s the hottest landing strip in town and she can’t wait for the hero to fly his plane right onto her apron. Of course, when the hero is ready to land after circling around for a bit, she quickly lets him know that she’s not that kind of girl and the whole thing is just a test. You see, she wants to know whether he’s fully committed to his art, or else she will never be able to work with him. Don’t ask me how wearing her hottest come-get-me-boys dress and acting like she’s ready to go is going to test a man’s passion to the arts.
And yet, after this rocky, stupid start, the story starts to get under my skin. Jordan may be a complete fraud of a “rebel artist”, but he turns out to be a nice guy – sensitive, chivalrous, gallant. No weird hang-ups over exes, evil mothers, or the like. Sasha turns out to be a perfectly sane woman with a believable personality – despite that painful introduction to Jordan, she has no weird issues about sex or men, and she also has no creepy daddy issues. These two interact in a manner that sells me their developing romance very well. There are quiet moments well balanced against the sexy moments, so the romance comes off as as much about love as it is about lust.
I keep waiting for the kind of drama that plagues so many books in this line, such as the psychotic ex or the evil mother showing up to remind everyone that women are the worst things ever, but no. In fact, this is a pretty low key romance all things considered – the focus is mostly on the chemistry and the passion rather than suspense or evil exes, and it works for me. I like the romance, I like the characters, and I find myself unable to put down this story despite wincing at some of the more bent-out contrived moments in the story.
Seduced in San Diego is a low-key but solid read to me, and all in all, four oogies sound just about right for this baby.