Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86521-5
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Taming Her Billionaire follows Taming Her Tycoon, but I think one doesn’t have to read the latter to follow the plot in this one. Everything here is such a steaming pile of wet mess that trying to making sense of it is akin to sticking one’s head inside the mess to explore what it’s really like. Sure, some people may want to go for it, but I personally recommend just sitting back, setting one’s BS-o-meter threshold to a value as high as possible, and just enjoy.
Maximus Knight is the legitimate son of the now-dead Arthur Knight, but prior to this story, he learned that (a) Arthur shacked up with and shagged his “true love” despite having married Max’s mother, and the result is Maximus’s half-brother Lucian, and (b) despite Arthur having raised him all this while to be his heir, Arthur left only 49% of Knight Shipping to him, and (c) Lucian gets the other 49%. In this story, he learns that the remaining 2% goes to one Tahlia Armstrong. Oh my god, how many women had his old man shagged behind his wife’s back?
Of course, Thalia is not a prostitute, as we can’t have mercenary-minded women to be romance heroines. So, the author wants me to believe that (a) Arthur gives her 2% of his shipping company and (b) buys the art gallery where she works and gives it to her because she was nice to him and spent hours talking to him and sharing their dreams together. Normally, I would roll up my eyes and think, “Gurl, who are you kidding? For all those goodies, she must have taken him to brown town and more five times a day!” but then I remember, this is a romance novel so oh, that’s about right and logical in the context of the genre. Everyone who thinks that she must have let Arthur stick that smelly old thing into every pore and orifice of her body is such a disgusting hater that should be ashamed of themselves.
Despite Thalia radiating innocence and sweetness from every pore of her 100% never-been-violated-by-rich-old-men body, Maximus is not having this. He is going to bang that 2% out of Thalia – literally, duh – so that he can finally gain control of that company like he’s always believed he would. Not that he likes to do that to our heroine, but he has to.
Mind you, I was initially giving Maximus the side eye for his dumb plot, but by the late third of this story, I am firmly on his side. Our hero has all kinds of plans for the company, but Lucian, despite initially claiming to not want anything to do with the company, turns out to be bipolar by plot – he see-saws between wanting just that and suddenly wanting to be part of the company depending on whether the author wants him to be be a pest in a particular chapter. Maximus sometimes wants to scream and I can sympathize. Worse, Tahlia is all about, oh, what will Arthur want, so she too will poop on Maximus’s plans because she wants nothing to ever change so as to… I don’t know, but then again, romance heroines. This is why we never let them do anything more than clerical work in a big company.
Why is Thalia so invested in Arthur’s company? She’s an outsider, and yet, she acts like she’s been personally appointed by Arthur, Jesus, and Obama to “fix” the family. In this, I’m perfectly in the camp of those women who would go “WTF are you, bitch? Go sit in the corner and let the grown-ups talk!” but sadly, these women are of course portrayed as venomous, bitter types for daring to doubt Thalia Christ Superstar even a little. It doesn’t help that our heroine gets all the goodies dumped on her despite showing no capability to manage things, and she shows little inclination to change or better herself after her windfall. The author portrays Thalia as this personality-free dingbat who only exists to want everything in the Knight clan to be one big family. Why is she so invested in them? It’s not like she was personally involved with Arthur. I never get any believable motivations from Thalia – she just exists to be a plot device as well as to be Maximus’s favorite love mattress. Good things happen to her because she just is – she never earns her rewards, hence it’s so easy to hate her. Fortunately, Thalia is also an emotional mess, so it’s as fun as it is easy to hate her.
Taming Her Billionaire is a good example of how a story can be so ineptly executed that I end up being entertained nonetheless by the unintentional comedy that results from this ineptness. It helps that I find it easy to root for Maximus as, regardless of whether I approve or not of his seduction plot, he ends up being right in his belief that Lucian and Thalia will end up being a massive headache. The story devolves into an increasingly overwrought and chaotic soap opera as I turn the pages, with irrational behavior piling up like a wobbling Tower of Pisa, and I can only laugh at the whole mess. I even get one last chuckle when Thalia tells Maximus between eek-eek-eeks that she will marry him because he has “enriched” her life. Yes, he certainly did, and his daddy did too.
So yes, this book isn’t that bad in my estimation – at least I have a pretty good time gaping at the train wreck. I do enjoy this one at the end of the day, although obviously the fun I had is at the author’s expense. Wait, I paid $6.50 for this, so it’s at my expense. Sigh.