Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86249-8
Contemporary Romance, 2012
Sinful Temptation is part of a special two-book series called – wait for it – Twins of Sin. I have no idea why this series is called such, since the two twin brothers in question seem like normal guys instead of amoral sinners of some sort. And honestly now, while that title may seem ridiculous when pegged to a historical romance, it is even more ridiculous when it’s attached to a contemporary romance. A more honest title would be Twins of Cliché, but I guess that won’t go down well with the cool kids in the marketing department.
This book takes place more or less within the same time frame as Sinful Seduction, but this one can stand alone quite well. Just note that there are some things here that can be considered spoilers for those who have not read the other book. I’ll try not to give too many details in this review, though, so don’t worry.
So, Antonios Davies. We can call him Tony. He’s everything a paint-by-numbers romance hero should be. He’s, of course, filthy rich, being the big boss of one of New York’s most respected and biggest auction houses. Since patriotism is in, Tony’s also a former soldier who did his thing in Afghanistan. Now that his sojourn in the Middle-East is over, he comes back with PTSD (we need to give the hero some kind of issue for the heroine to play the mother for, after all). But because he’s filthy rich, it’s a simple matter of changing out of the uniform into a very expensive business. Apart from the occasional PTSD episodes, there’s no hurt locker for Tony, don’t worry.
Our heroine is Talia Adams. She’s a talented artist whose works can reach out and touch the viewer’s soul, although she’s not filthy rich because of her talent because only romance heroes are allowed to be rich. Talia and Tony first met when Tony picked up his nephew at the class that Talia was teaching. At that time, Tony was engaged to… oh, it’s a long story. Let’s just say that Tony went to Afghanistan, things didn’t work out for Tony and his boo (it’s really complicated), and things between Talia and her boo didn’t work out either. In the meantime, they exchanged letters, and those letters touched Tony – who was in Afghanistan then – so much that he wrote to Talia saying that he had it bad for her. She didn’t write back.
Cut to today. Tony is back in New York, but he has PTSD episodes that see him crying out her name. Naturally, he has to seek her out, because they are meant to be. Talia, however, is suffering from a double dose of mistrust of the opposite sex, thanks to her ex and her father all being cut from the same cloth, and Tony will have to do some persuading to get her to say yes to everything.
This is a pleasant, if predictable read. Talia and Tony have a pretty decent chemistry happening between them, and there are some lively and snappy banter to be had. Both characters by themselves are pretty unremarkable stereotypes, but they are also lively likable types with good sense of humor in the first half or so of the book. It is only during the second half of the book that the author begins having her main characters behave silly, sometimes in an out of character manner, for the sake of introducing some additional last-moment conflicts. This is odd, considering that Ms Christopher already has one good conflict at hand – Tony’s PTSD. That issue, however, is pretty much given the Hallmark treatment – Tony may bloody his twin brother during one of his episodes, but of course, he doesn’t need counseling, support groups, or other wussy stuff. Tony is a real man! All he needs is sex with Talia to chase the night shakes away!
This PTSD is also used as a plot device that gives Talia pretty much no opportunity to reject Tony even if she wants to. Let’s face it – that man is not well in the head and he is crazy for her. If she turns him down, who knows if he would go crazy on her, right? Or, if you want to put it in a more positive way, Tony is a mentally wounded soul who could only be healed by a healthy dose of lovemaking and mothering by Talia. That poor girl will look like a heartless hag if she kicks the poor man out of her life. Ms Christopher, therefore, has used that PSTD plot device in a way that is detrimental to the romance. Instead of the romance being used as a moving medium to heal the wounds in Tony’s soul, it’s a plot device to make sure that Talia can’t say no when the man comes knocking downstairs and wanting to be let in.
The main characters have everything in place to be a fun and entertaining couple, but the conflicts are all over the place and often serve to cause these characters to jump to weird conclusions or behave silly for the sake of drama. Let’s just say that Sinful Temptation could have been a stronger read if the author had introduced various conflicts in a better manner.