Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-335-21690-8
Contemporary Romance, 2018
AlTonya Washington’s Seductive Moments, her last book for Kimani, is also one of her better written books in a while. The pacing is solid, the narrative feels natural with banter that feels spontaneous and on point, and the introduction of secondary characters is smooth and non-intrusive in such a way that these people feel like an organic part of the story rather than intrusive advertisements. So, what’s the problem?
Well, the story of Rayelle Keats and Barker Grant took place previously, starting from the dire Provocative Territory which came out in 2013, and they officially hook up early in Seductive Moments. If you’re looking for a romance between a former gentleman’s club dancer turned respectable entrepreneur and the award-winning journalist who broke the scoop about a scandal at her mentor’s club, you will need to start all the way from that book – this one serves more as the sex scene and the epilogue of their grand love story than anything else. Oh, and don’t worry, Barker isn’t some two-bit fake news hustler that would be retrenched from Vice or something – his family is loaded, so there is no fear that these two won’t be able to afford to buy a new Rolls Royce every two months.
That’s basically the story here. These two finally have sex, and the rest of the book is filled with filler drama. She meets people, helps kids with issues get over themselves, and be an all around nice and sensible lady. Oh, and her girlfriends are of course here to cheer her and Barker on, because we don’t do subtlety these days and I need to be screamed at to get that the hero and the heroine should totally hook up and make beautiful babies. Barker keeps wooing Ray with wine and wang (ahem) because he’s totally into her. There’s minimal romantic conflict here – she’s a bit hesitant to commit in case her past career come back to haunt them both, but they already have no secrets from one another at this point and he’s perfectly fine with everything that she was, is, and will be. So yes, no drama there. Reading this one is just watching small dramatic episodes come up and are quickly resolved when these two are not going all ooh and woo-hoo. There is a small suspense arc here, but because the bad guy is such a minor presence, his unmasking elicits a “Meh, next!” from me.
Because I have little investment in this couple’s story – the books they previously appeared in were either terrible or meh – this one is a pleasant kind of “So what?” for me. As I’ve said, I like the main characters here because the story itself is easy to read and well written compared to the author’s more recent efforts. Still, I don’t know why the author doesn’t give Ray and Barker a more interesting plot. Why not have them work on a case together? Take down some secret Russian election-meddling cabal, perhaps? It’s a shame that when they finally get their time under the sun, their story turns out to be a mundane afterthought.