Mine At Last
by Celeste O Norfleet, contemporary (2013)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86298-6


Shauna Banks is a consultant whose latest gig is to visit Key West Medical Centre and check whether it's worth buying out by her employer, the Cura Group. Of course, she doesn't know until she's pretty much there that she's assigned to this place, one in which she has a history. Also, she had a teenage crush on Dr Dominik Cole, the acting ER director. Being a consummate professional, she of course can't tell all this to her boss, because she doesn't want to spoil her reputation, you know. Sleeping with the guy she is investigating is fine, but telling the boss that there is a conflict of interest of sorts at work here is not. That's romance novel logic for you. Anything to have a plot, I guess.

Dominik loves the place and he doesn't want it to close down despite the medical centre needing a severe infusion of cash. The previous management bungled things up badly, after all. He feels that the Cura Group is not the right people for the job, however, as those people are all about the bottom line. The whole place may be going bankrupt, but he can still treat Shauna like an asshole with a slice of sexual harassment on the side. Oh, what am I saying? It's not sexual harassment if a hot guy in a romance novel comes on to you ten seconds after bumping into you in a professional setting - it's hot.

Mine At Last have a couple with pretty good chemistry in Dominik and Shauna, but their overall behavior in this story is all over the place, from unprofessional to reckless when it comes to mixing business with pleasure.

Most damning is how Cole basically sells Shauna down the river and causes her to lose her job as well as her reputation, despite claiming that he loves her. This happens late in the story, and is wrapped up neatly because Cole loves her, will marry her, and a fortunate turn of events allows her to get a new job alongside Cole. Therefore, Cole never has to face the repercussions of his actions, because things turn out for the best despite his "I love the heroine, but I'll go ahead and betray her confidence anyway just because I can" nonsense. I may feel sorry for Shauna if she wasn't that idiot who made the first move that started their unprofessional affair.

In conclusion, Mine At Last has a plot that necessitates the characters doing silly things to further the conflict. If there is anything that works here, it works despite the overarching tomfoolery of the story.

Rating: 65


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