by Angelle Trieste, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-60504-220-X
In Devil Falls, our heroine Victoria Benedict is determined to track down the subject of her biography, Damien Kirk, even if it means cornering the reclusive man in his home at the Caribbean island of St Cecilia. She wants to get down to the reason why Damien, a world-renowned cellist, would one day withdraw completely from the spotlight to live as a recluse. Given that Damien in this story behaves like a typical Harlequin Presents asshole, only with more limited vocabulary when it comes to calling the heroine all kinds of unpleasant things, how far will Victoria go to get her story?
This is a simple story and whether the story works or not depends largely on how sympathetic the reader finds Damien. In this story, I find that he often behaves like a poster boy for sexual harassment when he's not behaving outright rudely. Oh, he has plenty of issues, some of them caused by his mother, but I find those excuses more appropriate as reasons why any sane woman shouldn't marry him. Or, perhaps, signs that he will one day become the new Norman Bates. Also, while I, the reader, am given an insight into what makes Damien the cry baby tick, Victoria doesn't have the same privilege, so her initial attraction to Damien doesn't make sense, not with him behaving like a spoiled big cry baby who just cannot stop berating and insulting Victoria until close to the last page. As it is, Victoria eventually claims to love him because she "understands" how much he had gone through in the past, ugh. Give me a break. If she wants to mother someone that badly, she could have just bought a puppy. At least the puppy won't screw her and then say things afterward that are calculated to make her feel like complete crap.
Damien could have been an acceptable hero if Ms Trieste has somehow found a way to balance the man's asshole and woobie behavior so that the heroine's attraction to that man is believable. In this case, I have a hard time imagining that Damien will be able to behave in a mature manner, so I have serious reservations about the believability of the romance. No amount of money in this world would tempt me to believe that this asshole is in any way Prince Charming material.
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