Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86376-1
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Cameron Stewart’s pupils dilated happily when his eyes focused on Angela Brown – the beautiful woman he had been thinking about lately.
As opening sentences go, that one is certainly interesting, if only because I wonder why Judy Lynn Hubbard opts for this particular sentence. No, Take Me in Your Arms is not the first Kimani romance with a werewolf or vampire hero, and no, Cameron is not the lost sibling of Mystique from The X-Men. So, why the happy dilating pupils? That’s not something one usually uses to describe a normal human male’s reaction to a woman, right? Still, I have to admit it’s a nice change from the usual bulging-to-bursting crotch baskets that usually occur when romance author attempts to describe a man who sees a woman and wants to play with her.
Strange turn of phrases pop up pretty frequently here, and while I scratch my head pretty often, I’m not complaining too much as they provide some amusing diversion. You see, this story is very short on plot. Basically, Cameron decides that he wants to say bye-bye to his playboy ways and be Pitbull to Angela’s Ke$ha – or is it just Kesha now? – in the game of yelling the timber. Angela has been bruised in the heart by love before, so it’s a no even as her body sings hallelujah and does a happy twerk to the sight of Cameron’s wrecking ball. And that’s it. Really!
If this story had been shorter, say, cut down to half its length, things won’t be so bad. Stretched to its current length, however, there is only so much repetitive circular behavior the author can put her characters through before staring blankly at the wall starts to become a far more entertaining thing to do. Oh, she tries. Secondary characters show up to basically wave pom-poms and cheer the two on – “Hey, Cammy, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow her mind – HEY CAMMY!” – but come on, after a while beating the dead horse starts to resemble… well, beating the dead horse.
The author wastes a great opportunity here by not trying to develop her characters beyond their current one-dimensional and one-note “Romeo Boy vs Stubborn Miss No Love But I May Sleep With You When I’m Weak Only to Raise So Much Drama Afterwards” incarnations. Realistic characters with complicated emotions may help to keep the story going a bit longer when the author has run out of steam and tricks, but there are no such characters here.
Hence, I am absolutely bored by the time page 100 rolls in, and I still have no idea why or how I keep reading until the last page. It’s not like I get anything worthwhile out of the effort, so maybe I am the biggest sucker in this whole situation after all.