by Bridget Midway, contemporary (2005)
Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 1-59426-538-0
Bridget Midway may be a noteworthy author for fans of Zane or any other authors (in)famous for putting out raunchy tales of African-American women looking for sex and love in all the wrong places. Walls is not a work of romantic erotica because there is no romantic element in this story. It's an outright sexual fantasy, often rude, crude, and raunchy, with a heroine who has an upfront and casual attitude towards sex.
Our unnamed first-person heroine is a nurse with a raunchy and unapologetic outlook when it comes to sex. When she describes and dismisses an aborted affair with a doctor early on in the story, I realize that she's either going to be a very interesting heroine - a refreshing change from an ordinary romance heroine, at least - or an annoying one who uses her sex as a way to telegraph her issues to the reader. Fortunately, Walls isn't interested in getting the reader to psychoanalyze the heroine. Instead, it tells the story about how our heroine is so taken with a white cop that she actually stalks him and watches him for a few days before using some other woman's business card to reel him in as her latest conquest. Things are not what they seem, however, and the heroine will soon realize that this man, Carl, isn't telling everything about himself either.
Maybe I'm just an eternal romantic ninny but I have high hopes for Carl and the heroine after following their surprisingly tender conversations as she takes them to a walk by the sea after she has introduced herself to him. It's not everyday that I read about such an unapologetically sexual tomcat heroine, after all, and I am wondering whether the author is going to make a love story - bliss, an interracial love story to boot! - out of this. It could have been a wonderful love story since the build-up to the love scene is very nicely done, with the heroine showing signs of thawing beautifully and revealing some human vulnerabilities under her hard-as-nails exterior.
Instead, Bridget Midway chooses to introduce a twist that, while not exactly unpleasant, effectively has this interesting potential romance being nipped in the bud. This twist means that readers looking for a romantic story in Walls will be very disappointed. What it does offer though is a heroine whose sass and often sardonic sense of humor will appeal to some and turn off other readers. If you like a quick read in-between Zane books, Walls may just be the thing for you.
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