Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86466-9
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Winning the Doctor is on paper a story that should be familiar to regular readers of the Kimani line. It’s another story in which our heroine, Liza Sinclair, starts her own business, and she naturally needs to land the hero’s business or else. In her case, she’s an architect so she needs to design plastic surgeon Anthony Marbet’s clinic or look sad. Naturally, he’s hot, rich, and if she plays her cards right, she will never have to look her age ever again, and thus, by marrying him she will never have to do anything more than to pay lip service to being an “independent woman” ever again. The end, happily ever after.
Sure, it’s nothing original, just change the names and the occupations. Toss in secondary characters. many of whom from past and future books, squealing in delight in anticipation of the upcoming shagging between our two lovebirds, and it’s basically another Kimanu story. If it’s a well-written one, hey, that’s okay, we can deal.
But this one boasts inconsistent and often bewildering motivations and behaviors from the main characters, especially the heroine. I don’t know why it always has to be the heroine to be the LOLcow in so many romance novels, but there you go. Shortly after first meeting Anthony, Liza is already going on like this:
Maybe Anthony was just being nice, and maybe she’d never have his love. But she could design him a beautiful clinic that would make him remember her forever, and build her own career at the same time.
They have just talked. They haven’t even swapped saliva yet. And yet. she’s already over-analyzing his behavior and bringing up “love”. Does the author want me to view Liza as an emotionally needy heroine? I don’t see any indication here that this is the case, so I guess it’s just a misfire on the author’s part. Whatever the reasons are behind this, Liza still comes off as a little too desperate to have a man love her. Furthermore, she’s emotional, and her so-called abilities rarely translate into action. My favorite scene is the one where the hero brings up her history of being a bit of a vacant headcase that marked her a liability in her past employment, and our heroine basically screeches at him to the tune of “HOW DARE HE INVESTIGATE HER THIS IS DISGUSTING, HE CLEARLY NEVER TRUSTED HER AND EVERYTHING IS A LIE AND HOW DARE HE SAYS THOSE MEAN THINGS TO HER!!! NOBODY KNOWS HER, SO HOW DARE HE!!! AND HOW DARE PEOPLE THINK OF HER AS AN OVERLY EMOTIONAL HEADCASE!!!” I don’t know whether the author has no awareness about her heroine’s total cluelessness here, but I have a good laugh at Liza’s expense. She’s such a messy headcase.
Anthony is only a little less ridiculous. In the scene above, for example, after telling Liza that he knows what a messy headcase she is, he then proceeds to try to make out with her. No, really – and without any smooth transition from sober to horny. It’s basically talk, talk, okay, now he wants to shag. His ability to switch on and off his horny feelings like a robot makes him more of a plot device character than a coherent character. It’s as if the author goes, “Oh, what? So many pages have passed without a make-out scene to remind readers that this is a romance novel? Okay, Anthony, whip it out now.” And if the context of that whipping out doesn’t really jive with the whipping out, who cares? Readers want the honey, so he better shut up and take out that thing now.
As a result, Winning the Doctor is basically a story of two befuddling characters doing bewildering things in an awkward, robotic manner. To add to the injury, the author seems to have lost the ability to deliver hot sex scenes as well. Those scenes have a mechanical “1… 2… 3… oh, for god’s sake, are you done yet?” feel to them.
Together, they soared… and shattered.
What, is this like how Icarus flew too close to the sun, causing the heat to melt the wax in his artificial wings, and then he plummeted to his death? Lovely.
Anyway, I have no idea why anyone would want to read this thing, where there are better variations of the same plot line and characters coming from other Kimani authors all the time.