by Kayla Perrin, contemporary (2007)
Kimani, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-373-83016-9
In Love, Lies & Videotape, our heroine Jasmine St Clair is giddy with joy because she's been in a big high-profile movie that will surely give her acting career a boost and now her screenwriter boyfriend has brought her to his luxurious penthouse for what seems like the perfect way to cap off a fabulous day. Alas, her agent interrupts what could have been a great night with some not-so-pleasant news: a sex tape featuring her and this boyfriend plus a pair of handcuffs is making the rounds and CNN is calling the agent for details.
I find it hard to believe that a sex tape featuring a new actress, not a particularly famous one at that, will be that news-worthy that it makes the front pages, prime time news, and water cooler discussions like author Kayla Perrin is suggesting here. Jasmine St Clair isn't exactly Britney Spears or Paris Hilton, after all. Jasmine, however, is understandably upset because she has grand plans of having a serious acting career, complete with no-nudity clauses in her contracts. She gets even more upset when she learns that Allan, the boyfriend, was the one who had deliberately taped their sexual activities and leaked the tape to the press in some deluded attempt to generate publicity for his career.
Jasmine dumps that man hard and tries to move on with life, even finding some humor in the situation, until she gets attacked one day by some crazy person for being a "whore" and ended up with six stitches on her head as a result. This is when she realizes that she needs to get away from everything in her life at that moment. Her agent's ex-husband/current on-off lover Steven Beck (this is Hollywood, after all) has a place in St Lucia that Jasmine can use for a month or two, so Jasmine is off to get some well-deserved break.
Our hero Darien Lamont is an ex-military fellow who returned from Iraq to find his wife of seven years in bed with another man. His brother, of all people. As it happens in every other story of this sort, Steven's brother had happened to let Darien know that the St Lucia villa is available for use if Darien needs to take a break. When Jasmine shows up at the villa in question, Darien is already there and a most predictable "I have the right to be here - you get out!" argument ensues right after the obligatory moment when Darien stumbles upon Jasmine while she's in a state of undress. I suppose the fact that Jasmine is stepping out of the pool instead of the usual shower suggests that Ms Perrin is not completely adverse to even a little originality in her writing.
There are some mystic elements in this story that come in the form of Darien having dreamed of Jasmine even before he meets her in person. Even without those dreams, there is an attraction between the two of them that can only make their St Lucia getaway more interesting as the two of them decide to make peace with each other and share the villa.
That is pretty much the story, really, apart from Allan trying to win Jasmine back towards the end only to humiliate himself spectacularly. I must say, this book makes a very nice vicarious getaway to St Lucia because the scenery is gorgeous. Jasmine and Darien have what seems like a perfect vacation that this book could easily be one of those "Wish you were here!" postcards that people always receive when they are tired of their mundane routine from friends and family members with no sense of timing. I like the fact that Ms Perrin manage to show some heartfelt moments of bonding between her characters long before they first hop into bed. There is a genuine build-up of a relationship here so that I can imagine that there is more than the sun and the beach at work to convince these characters that they are in love.
I am worried that Darien will start channeling the usual all-women-are-sluts moron moments once he learns of Jasmine's sex tape but to my pleasant surprise, Darien decides that he can trust Jasmine despite reading and hearing all those things in the media about her because he knows her. This is a nice development that caps off the whole romantic getaway trip that is Sex, Lies & Videotape very nicely indeed.
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