Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86245-0
Contemporary Romance, 2012
I like Ann Christopher’s style. She knows how to do humorous sarcasm and snappy comedy just right, without going overboard or missing a cue. When I read her romantic comedies, I know I can expect to get some good chuckles and an occasional crack of laughter out of the story. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come across a story where the author can sustain the initial momentum she has going, and Sinful Seduction is – sigh – another one of the author’s books that eventually peter out and become depressingly average. This is part of a special two-book series called Twins of Sin. Don’t ask me why the series is given that ridiculous title – the two twin brothers in question don’t behave like amoral sex-mad twits that shag everything that moves while kicking puppies and molesting church-going grandmothers. But since the hero Alessandro Davies has the hots for his brother’s ex-fiancée, I guess that makes him a twin of sin. Right?
Oh yes, Sandro has the hots for Skylar Lawrence. Okay, so Skylar broke up with Antonios (who will get his own story in Sinful Temptation), so there is nothing stopping them from examining each other’s tonsils a little closer. But you see, Sandro and Tony decided to take up arms and ventured forth to Afghanistan like all patriotic romance heroes, and Tony seems to have died in the course of duty. Of course, he didn’t die – hello, this series is about two twin brothers falling love, after all (with other women, not each other – sorry, pervs) – but let’s pretend we don’t know that. So, Sandro is back, full of guilt over the fact that he still has the hots over his now-dead perfect brother’s woman. Not that he will avoid Skylar so easily, since she inherited Tony’s house along with Sandro. Oh, and Sandro also has a rebellious and surly teenage son, and luckily for Sandro, Skylar is a veterinarian. She knows a thing or two about handling wounded puppies.
The story is quite predictable, what with its only twist – Tony is alive – given away right in the author’s foreword when she pretty much tells everyone that both twin brothers will be getting their stories. The surly kid, the guilt-ridden hero, and the sunshine heroine bringing lots of love and joy back in their lives – this is another Romance in a Big House with a Troubled Kid story all over again. It starts out most promisingly, though, as a most amusing parody of a Gothic novel, complete with Skylar hilariously saying and doing things that poke fun at Gothic clichés. But once the author decides to pile on the Drama of Tragic Accidents and Near Death Experiences to make sure that Skylar will never stray too far from Sandro and his son, things become rather… ordinary.
Skylar is a fine heroine, if a bit on the too-patient-to-be-true side when it comes to dealing with immature overgrown boys. She’s smart, she’s aware of things happening around her, and she seems sane and likable without the bizarre neurotic quirks that tend to plague contemporary romance heroines. However, Sandro is a bit on the ridiculous side, especially when he and Tony start fighting over Skylar like two kids in a playground fighting over a chance to ride a pony or something. Conveniently enough, both overgrown boys forget or overlook the fact that Tony and Skylar broke up shortly before this story began, so there is really no reason why Sandro and Skylar shouldn’t have sex – oh, wait, they already did, so let me change that – why these two shouldn’t have a happy ending by page 180.
This story starts out fine, and remains entertaining as it starts becoming another Romance in a Big House affair (complete with Dramatic Near-Death Events at convenient moments!), but when it begins to bank on a conflict started and perpetuated by a silly romance hero who experiences whiplash, wanting the heroine one minute and pushing her away the next, that’s when this book begins to become too silly for its own good.