Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-617-5
Contemporary Romance, 2007
The Things You Think You Want is one of those books that I find really hard to get into because the heroine’s personality is one that I have problems warming up to. I like the author’s voice, but this story unfortunately leaves me cold.
When it comes to men, Aunt Mabel always said, there are good ones, there are bad ones and then there are the worst possible kind. The kind that steal your heart and leave you wondering what happened — the kind you can’t change.
Through the years, I’d certainly seen my fair share of these worst possible kinds. In fact, I often wondered if there wasn’t some sort of hidden sign written across my forehead announcing, “Come on in! Open for business! Give it your best shot!”
I guess I never fully appreciated the wisdom of my aunt’s advice until I met David Martinez, the man who broke my heart and destroyed most of my self-esteem. It took a year of intense therapy just for me to regain some of my confidence back. Forget men – I wasn’t anywhere close to being ready for men again.
Or so I thought until I looked into the prettiest blue eyes in Texas.
The narrator Carrie Sinclair is being too dramatic about things if you ask me and I’d say it’s most likely a mistake entering a relationship and assuming that you will change the man. I mean, why enter a relationship with someone that you intend to change into someone else, right? How can desperate do you have to be for that to happen?
With how she approaches love and life, perhaps it is inevitable that our 35-year old caterer heroine finds herself plunged into another Bollywood melodrama involving disapproving fathers and all kinds of bumps in the road that people tend not to get away with unless these dramatic events come with plenty of cheesy songs and dances in a movie that runs over three hours. Humiliated after being given a public scolding by her new client about the crab puffs, Carrie finds solace in being approached by a hunky guest at the party, Tyler Bennedict.
“Don’t listen to her. Martina doesn’t know what she’s talking about most of the time. These just happen to be the best crab puffs I ever tasted. And, if I’d known the Carrie of Carrie’s Creative Catering was this talented, not to mention beautiful, I would have booked your services long ago.”
The last line, especially, makes me cringe, but perhaps, given her state of emotional distress, I can’t blame Carrie for falling for such an obvious line. She has self-esteem issues anyway, constantly going on about how she can’t believe someone like Tyler will find her attractive. However, Tyler has absent mother issues while Carrie is talking about love and marriage when they have barely known each other. Also, Tyler’s control freak of a father believes that his son is too good for someone like Carrie.
I have plenty of reservations about this story. Carrie comes off as really, really needy. Nothing but romance will make her happy, she keeps saying – romance, family, marriage, and all that jazz. Her career doesn’t do anything for her. She wants to get married now. With Tyler, of course. She has her eyes on Tyler and she wants to get married to him ASAP. When her single aunt that she has taken care of decides to be in love with some fellow, Carrie gets even more desperate about not wanting to be alone for the rest of her love. I often suspect that Carrie must be suffering from some kind of phobia about being alone. I try to be understanding about the biological clock going haywire, but Carrie really gives me the creeps. She’s too over-the-top desperate and emotionally needy for my liking.
In the second half of the story when Carrie decides move on from Tyler (don’t worry, he’ll be back), she gains some self-awareness about how she has behaved around Tyler, but at the same time, she is still that desperate creature looking around her in that wild-eyed “Marry me! Now! Or else!” expression that I’m pretty sure she sports all the time. By the end of the story, I’m more relieved that anything else when Carrie finally gets what she wants. Maybe she’ll finally calm down, get some kind of hobby, or get rid of the carcasses of those cats that I know she keeps in her basement.