Now I’m a romance lover, and I think some of the best short romances out there come from Harlequin. And what I love about Harlequin is the variety in their short category romances.
Still most of the characters I encounter are not African/Black (American, Canadian, etc.) But Harlequin has a whole line, Kimani Romance, dedicated to POC and their (sometimes) multicultural relationships.
Oddly I’ve never read the line, until now… Though I’ve been meaning to, only the books are available monthly—as with other lines—in a brick and mortar store.
My first Kimani was Kayla Perrin’s Island Fantasy, which is set in Jamaica for the most part. A little background then:
Heroine Shanna Kenyon is a romance writer who has no control of obtaining her HEA when she’s jilted by her groom before their wedding day. Determined to make use of her would-be honeymoon to Jamaica, Shanna goes on the trip alone to rejuvenate her broken spirit…
Enter Donovan Deval, another guest at the hotel in Jamaica who sparks Shanna’s interest only days after her wedding was called off. But Donovan also attracted to her and he’s doing most of the chasing— When Shanna finally gives into her desire, she wonders if her island fantasy has a place outside the island and in the real world.
So Shanna is a romance writer—and she’s actually not as cynical as you might imagine. I’m a romance writer, and I like to think of myself as a realist, yet I’m totally open to melodrama and the crazy happening in the real world… So I’m not a full blown cynic and Shanna isn’t either. And thankfully so because that would have been clichéd and a little too much for me to hold my disbelief back…
I enjoyed the chemistry between the two. The teasing and the chasing, but also the fun—I’ve read one too many alpha males who basically fight with the heroine all the way into bed. And although I think makeup sex is probably wondrous—ahem, it is fun to write—I also preferred the more natural development between Donovan and Shanna.
They both liked each other, and the out-and-out confess the attraction very early on. What I did notice is that this novel is not 50/50 between the hero and heroine’s perspectives. It is mostly written from Shanna’s POV and Donovan makes an appearance on pg. 31… 2 chapters and a bit into chapter 3 before readers can finally sink their teeth into the first sight.
That being said, I didn’t mind so much. When we did get Donovan’s POV late into the book, it was a nice break from Shanna’s thoughts—mostly because Donovan was very clear about his feelings. He accepted his attraction to Shanna and he wanted more of a relationship, or at least a chance to explore a potential long time union. Shanna, on the other hand, is the one with commitment/trust issues. It makes sense the story be told from her perspective mostly because it’s her insecurities that are holding back the full treatment of Donovan’s affection and her chance at a potential rejection (and more heart ache) or a HEA.
Sorta like a writer’s life: opening the door to opportunity also opens the door to both rejection and acceptance. You’d think Shanna the successful historical romance author would get this…
As far as external conflict goes, nothing too dramatic—the focus is more on an internal struggle of commitment, and head versus heart type problem; although something happens near the end. No spoilers, just a warning. I sort of figured it out and…hahaha…with a, err, racial profiling. Though the story set me up, and I filled in the blanks too quickly!
Anyways, I liked the story. There’s actually a second story featuring Shanna’s younger sister, Brianne who I really liked. All I know is that she’s a bigger girl who recently lost her fiancé/boyfriend? to an accident (I forgot the accident) and well, if that doesn’t set us up for a companion Book 2.
Make sure to pick up Island Fantasy and book 2, Freefall to Desire! If you’re new to this subgenre/line of romances then this is as great a place to start as any.