Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86439-3
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Victor Raphael, our hero, is a landscape architect. He is not a very happy person in general, mostly because his heart has been broken before, so all women are bitches, blah blah blah – we all know the song by now, I’m sure. When his buddy places his services up for auction – for charity, of course – he acts as if he has just been pimped out to ugly fat women at bargain basement price. But then he spots Michaela “Mella” Davis and his hormones tell him, “Want! Want! Want!” Ah, but can he overcome his revulsion at the complete lack of morals and dignity in the opposite sex to bestow upon Mella the honor of getting to pat his mighty pee-pee? And will she feel honored and grateful that a man has deigned to accept her as worthy of his attention, or will she break his heart and make him cry like all those… those… things out there?
Untamed Love isn’t a new story by any stretch, and it is, in fact, predictable, right now to that inevitable moment when Victor goes all GET OUT YOU, I AM IRRATIONAL AND ANGRY SO THIS IS THE DRAMATIC MOMENT OOOH on Mella. The saving grace of this story is the fact that Mella is actually a pretty nice heroine – no weird tics, no “all men are bastards and I will become a harlot forever if I willingly let myself have happy sex” melodrama, nothing. She seems like a smart woman capable of forming healthy relationships with other people (including other beautiful women). The sexual tension between her and Victor can also be really hot, although the actual consummation scenes are, curiously enough, far less sexy to me than those scenes of heated glances and what not. This is one story where the mental lusting is done much better than the actual shagging.
However, the hero is such a big baby, acting like he’s the only person in this world who’s had his heart cheated upon. Also, he has angst about a dead sister. The dramatic moment of Victor going all “Hulk smash!” on Mella’s heart, however, seems to arise from a kind of coincidental contrivance that will happen only in fiction, and, more disappointingly, the making up is forced upon those two by the passel of secondary characters who all but shove Victor and Mella towards one another. I find that the romance and the happy ending would be more believable if those two make up on their own, instead of being forced to do so by the secondary characters who, for some reason, insist that Victor is a catch because he is so hot. The fact that he has the maturity of a brat and the prune-flavored temperament of a constipated bulldog doesn’t matter – he’s hot and, apparently, that is all that matters. The author could have had these people tell Mella that Victor is a catch because he is loaded with money – that, at least, would be a far more believable argument for her to actually marry him.
Anyway, Untamed Love is a very average read, although the sexual tension is pretty well done. The heroine is also pretty smart too, a rarity in this genre, although how smart she is at the end of the day for wanting to marry Victor… well, that one is still up in the air. The hero is a big crybaby, however, and his baggage is boring and played out. All in all, like I’ve said, very average.