Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86407-2
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Because Dara Girard’s Touch of Paradise turns extra stupid late in the story, I cannot avoid delving into major spoilers in this review. The spoiler bar won’t work here because it would mean that most of this review would be covered in red bars and makes the whole review look like an unreadable mess. So, if you wish to read this book and don’t want to know major plot details, it’s best to press the back button right away. You’ve been warned!
First, the story. About ten years ago, Rebecca Cromwell spent spring break at St James Island, and nearly drowned, only to be saved by Aaron Wethers. She saw him then as the most handsome, gallant, amazing, et cetera man ever, and therefore believes herself to be so much in love with him. Alas, he didn’t take her up on her invitation to ravish every inch of her body, and her heart took a bit of bruising as a result. Today, she is a fashion designer while he is a hot shot wealthy executive who has practiced the whole sneering in a sexy alpha dude thing down pat. His sister is organizing Rebecca’s fashion show, and there have been a series of suspicious “accidents” plaguing the preparations. Despite his initial skepticism, he soon buys into the idea that someone is sabotaging the event and even putting lives at stake, and it’s up to him to look into things. This also means that he has to look into Rebecca’s things, of course, and they are really hot things…
Rebecca and Aaron are pretty standard stock archetypes. They would be very familiar to anyone who has read Kimani books before, but on the bright side, they come off as pretty likable and their romance isn’t bad at all. The love thing isn’t the most exciting thing ever, but nobody does stupid things or fly off the handle, so it’s okay. However, the author also loads up the story with a few ex-girlfriends. I don’t understand why so many Kimani authors do this – it is stated in the contract that ex-girlfriends are compulsory in Kimani books? Does the Kimani big boss have some kind of fetish when it comes to ex-girlfriends? Frankly, I feel that any guy, no matter how hot he is, is not worth it if being with him means tripping over his ex-girlfriends every time I turn around a corner. That’s way too much drama, and it also makes me wonder what kind of mental or moral deficiency he must be having to have so many broken relationships in his wake.
Still, the exes aren’t so bad here because they serve as red herrings. You’d think one of them would be behind the mess, but it turns out that the plot is dumber than that. Aaron’s sister engineers the whole thing as a matchmaking device. Yes, you read that right. That imbecile endangers lives, jeopardizes Rebecca’s career, and… seriously, she puts the lives of several people in danger and has a poor guy put behind bars! Aaron is understandably furious when he finds out, but he merely cuts her salary and puts her to another post when I’d have personally have that creature committed into a nut house. I mean, what kind of lunatic would go through such extent just to get two people together? That’s crazy!
When the identity of the “villain” is revealed, this story goes from okay to “Hey, wait a minute!” in a heartbeat. The story mutates from a decent and readable if somewhat ordinary tale into a Scooby-Doo cartoon. I’d have preferred the villain to be another jealous evil skanky ex-girlfriend instead of this clearly crazy creature who comes up with this convoluted and bizarre plan to have her brother shacked up with some woman she’s convinced is his one true love.
I can only wonder what the author was thinking to come up with this ridiculous plot – thanks to that plot, she has turned her story from okay to a tale that would have been rejected from every clown school in town during what is supposed to be the dramatic reveal moment of the story. Seriously, what was she thinking?