Grand Central Publishing, $8.00, ISBN 978-1-4555-1934-7
Historical Romance, 2014
Eileen Dreyer’s Twice Tempted is like a hot guy in a bar who looks right – he appears to practice proper hygiene, he is well-groomed, and he’s cute as well as well-spoken, and you’re kind of bored and won’t mind some happy hour with a guy that one would kick out the next morning. However, something is missing, and you don’t feel any sparks with him. Instead, your eyes keep straying to the somewhat less well-groomed guy with a messy stubble at the corner who is drinking beer straight out of the bottle, who’s certainly less handsome than the guy you are talking to, because there’s just something about him that intrigues you. The guy you are talking to ticks off all the items on your list, but yikes, he is… boring. The other guy, on the other… hmm.
That’s my reaction to this story, and sadly, there is no more interesting option to distract me from it.
Oh, and I’m afraid this one is closely tied to a previous book – one that I happen to have not yet read at the time of writing. I can still follow this one just fine. It’s just that I get this feeling that I am assembling a jigsaw puzzle with a few big pieces missing.
Lady Fiona Maeve Ferguson Hawes’s brother was implicated as a traitor in a previous book, and she was entangled in some stuff with her brother’s BFF Alex Knight in that book too, after which he stole a kiss from her. When this story opens, Alex deposits her safely to her grandfather’s place, but that man quickly tosses her and her sister Mairead out onto the streets – he doesn’t want their brother’s infamy to taint his family, you know, so it’s time to throw out the disgrace and find new heirs to the title, you see. When Alex finds out, he storms off to look for Fiona. He quickly locates her, and it turns out that she’s fine. In fact, she goes as far as to wish that he hadn’t found her and her sister because they are just imposing on him, and that makes her feel guilty a bit.
Someone is out to kill someone, but the bulk of this story is just so sedate and polite. Fiona is never in any trouble because she is so capable and sassy, and I know about the last bit because our heroine always has a sarcastic quip for every situation, even if her quip could land her in further hot soup. YAAAS, SASSY KWEEN SLAY! She spends the bulk of the story worrying about her sister while hesitating to impose on Alex, when she’s not of course going on about how hot he is but oh, you know, she’s she and he’s he and they are likely never going to be. He spends the bulk of his time marveling about our heroine’s beauty and kindness and strength, when he’s not trying to make things go her way. Mairead is the typical magical autistic savant present in fiction and movies – she’s of course so beautiful and yet so brilliant; having autism is clearly the greatest gift anyone could have, and we should all pray desperately that our children would be born with autism so that the world will be a beautiful, peaceful, sexier place with superior human lifeforms running around chasing butterflies and babbling about quantum physics.
Whatever subplots that are present here are quickly resolved, often within a few paragraphs, and nothing interesting really happens here.
Sure, Twice Tempted is well written enough as the author isn’t exactly a new kid on the block, and there is enough polish in the narrative to make it a painless read. Still, too much of it is boring, if pleasant, mundane filler scenes served up with a distinct lack of heart and soul in the proceeding. Fairly or not, the take-home impression I have of this one is that it’s a contractual obligation fulfilled by the author in a “Let’s just get this over with, shall we?” manner.