Need You Now
by Yahrah St John, contemporary (2011)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86238-2
When it comes to my fiction, I have a hard time enjoying the rest of the story when I cannot buy the initial premise or I cannot overlook a glaring inconsistency. In Yahrah St John's Need You Now, the heroine Kayla Adams is described as a "cool, sophisticated businesswoman", a young woman who manages to become the president of the family business, Adams Cosmetics, through her own capabilities. What I get instead is a flaky twit who relies heavily on the people around her to make decisions for her. Hence, I can never really get into this story.
It doesn't help that this story adheres closely to the commandments that were laid down in the the Harlequin Presents bible. Kayla Adams, who is supposed to be a successful CEO, is told by her CFO when the story opens that the company is fast heading towards bankruptcy. This is the first time she's hearing of this, and it's too late to do anything, it seems. I mean, she can't be expected to lay off people in her company, after all, because that will be inhumane. She can't sell the company, because that is something that will make her Daddy unhappy and she lives to make that man happy. So what can she do? The author cleverly avoids showing Kayla having to make any decision or to offer any solutions. You may argue that Kayla is just like eight out of ten CEOs in real life - useless and incompetent - but the author insists that Kayla is really good at what she does. Too bad that Ms St John doesn't believe in backing up her grand claims of Kayla's abilities by making the heroine walk as well as she supposedly talks.
Then we have Ethan Graham, who is also a CEO, and because he has a penis, he is naturally a successful one. He decides to devour Adams Cosmetics into his mega-successful conglomerate, and he also wants Kayla. So, he tells her that she should marry him or he will take the company away from her. Kayla, the tough CEO, is like, oh, what can she do... she has no choice... she will marry Ethan because saving the company is what her Daddy will want her to do! Ethan will spend the rest of the story running all over her like a steam roller driven by a demon-possessed construction worker, while Kayla whimpers that she is too helpless to stand up for herself when he whips that big thing out and tells her to kiss it good. Meanwhile, Ethan demonstrates that he is as stupid as Kayla, only in different ways. What kind of man would hire a bitchy psychotic ex-floozy to work with the new wife and expect good things to happen? If you know the answer, Ethan probably can't spell it because he is... god, so stupid and hopeless. Between that and treating every problem in the marriage as one that can be solved by sticking it to her hard and good - I'm not kidding - he's too ridiculous for words. Still, the romance makes sense in a way because Kayla and Ethan are two hopelessly idiotic imbeciles, and therefore, they gravitate towards each other as dumb attracts dumb.
What doesn't make sense is the author actually trying to convince me that these imbeciles are intelligent people. This is Yahrah St John's biggest mistake: showing me that she has no awareness at all about her characters' flaws. Oops.
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