by Bridget Midway, contemporary (2007)
Loose Id, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-477-0
I hope nobody with coulrophobia reads this but I have a chuckle over the fact that the Big Secret that the hero is keeping from the heroine is that he is a clown. No, really, that's the Big Secret. You see, Yessica Battle has coulrophobia, which is a big word for the fear of clowns. Her cousin Marcus on the other hand runs the Soul-to-Soul Circus, which is a circus run by African-Americans. The last fact becomes relevant because Kevin Thibbideaux, our hero, steps in as a clown for the gig at schoolteacher Yessica's elementary school. Because he is white and the Soul-to-Soul Circus prides itself as an all-Black operation, Kevin puts on plenty of make-up to hide his skin color. Therefore, Yessica has no idea that the hot guy she ends up dating is actually the scary clown that was in her classroom earlier that day.
Yessica is also scared of voodoo and the dark. I can understand the fear of clowns and the dark, but I roll up my eyes when this 30-year old woman tells Kevin that she believes that voodoo is evil because she had this scary aunt that practiced voodoo... which she last saw when she was a kid. Isn't she old enough to know better than to cling on to childhood fears? Talk to another family member about this aunt or something?
While I'm not sure about Yessica who is likable enough but also often comes off like pretty contrived at times, Kevin is a pretty decent hero. Then again, while Yessica being as neurotic as she is, she probably needs a near-perfect boyfriend like Kevin. The problem I have with this story though is that author Bridget Midway rushes her main characters into bed on their first date and too much of this story is made up of love scenes. There is hardly any development in the relationship that goes beyond some superficial "Oh, we have an instant connection and it's hot, woo-hoo!" thing. I wish there has been more to the relationship than love scenes and some psychobabble about overcoming one's fears.
Speaking of which, the late part of the story comes off too much like a oversimplified support handbook thing than a story as Yessica overcomes her fears in a manner that seems too easy.
Therefore, there is probably a good romance story in here somewhere under any other circumstances, but Ms Midway doesn't actually deliver much here. The relationship feels rushed and underdeveloped with too many love scenes getting in the way and when the characters are not in bed, they are getting Yessica to go through a preachy but oversimplified "how to lose your fears" recovery program. Silly Fears would have been a much better book if it's longer or, if it is to retain its current length, has more emphasis on romance than sex. Just chalk this book up as a missed opportunity.
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