A Date on Cloud Nine
Well, what can I say about A Date on Cloud Nine? It’s a paranormal romance with two guardian angels and a heroine who gets a second chance at life. On the plus side, I now have a new benchmark by which all future books with lame, annoying, and ambiguous plot twists will be judged. On the minus side, I don’t think I wanted one.
Lilly Marquette has a considerable fortune, but she’s still not above picking a nickel up off the ground. One day, her cheapness costs her her life. She accompanies her best friend to a “adult” toy shop, and dies because she is chasing money (rather than running out the door) during a gas explosion. Fortunately, two angels give her a new lease on life. Apparently, she was called home too soon, and it is imperative that she give birth to a son before she dies. So the angels give her a chance to come back to life, marry the right guy, and get pregnant. While she is doing this, she needs to give all her money away. There are rules for this. It has to be distributed little by little, to worthy causes, and she can’t just give it away to her friends. In order to make sure Lilly follows the rules, she is given a magic charm bracelet which zaps her with electricity if she even thinks of doing something wrong.
Lilly already knows the right guy. In fact, he was right there with her in the adult toy shop, and he pulled her from the burning building. Jake Murdoch was just minding the shop for a friend. It’s one of the many odd jobs he’s been doing to help pay his family back. They took out a loan to bail him out of debt after Brady, his best friend and business partner, died. Brady was also Lilly’s husband, and Jake has had a crush on her ever since he met her at the wedding. Recently, he hasn’t been too happy with her. Brady had an insurance policy which was supposed to benefit the business, and somehow all the money went into Lilly’s pockets.
Lilly’s chauffeur was injured in the accident and can’t drive, so Lilly hires Jake (who’s moonlighting as a cab-driver) to take her around so she can dispense her considerable fortune to worthy causes. After Jake sees how generous Lilly is and realizes her in-laws are as crazy as loons, he absolves her of all guilt. They fall in love with each other as he drives her around to different places, and Lilly plots to get pregnant, even though Jake tells her he’s not financially ready to have a child right now.
This sounds pretty ridiculous, and it is. I could maybe, maybe buy the need for Lilly to let go of all her money, even if the rules governing its dispersal were very arbitrary. However, Lilly’s need to get pregnant is more problematic. Granted, for an angel book it’s only religious in the loosest sense. Nonetheless, I had a really tough time picturing any religion that would encourage its adherents to basically lie about birth control and get pregnant under nefarious circumstances.
Oddly enough, though, Lilly and Jake are almost likable enough to pull off the whole crazy scenario. Jake’s a brilliant inventor, and his electronic gadgets were kind of fun. He also got big points for realizing quite quickly that Lilly didn’t steal his money. Having been burned by this plot before, I was expecting him to nurse his grudge to the bitter end. Lilly is not quite as noble as Jake, but I could almost sympathize with her maniacal desire to get pregnant and set the course of her life in an acceptable direction before it was too late.
However, the book was hampered by two major problems. The first is the writing itself, which is very choppy. McKnight is one of those authors who could use some help connecting the dots and getting the reader from point A to point B. The book is consistently hard to follow, and transitions are rough.
Incredibly, the book was still mostly an average read until the bitter end, when there is a plot twist so awful, so annoying, that the book almost hit the wall. It might have, had I not just recently painted. It’s a little hard to discuss the ending without giving away spoilers, but suffice it to say that it creates a million questions and causes a lot of doubt about what actually happened in the book. Were you annoyed by the ending of Jude Deveraux’s Knight in Shining Armor? Well, this is worse. Way worse. It’s been two days since I finished it, and I still shudder every time I think about it.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about the whole reading experience was the general sense that somewhere, underneath the awkward writing, dumb premise, and moronic plot twist there was a decent book just dying to get out. The characterization isn’t bad, and at times the book is funny. So there’s some hope that the author might improve with future books. In the meantime, I’d stay far away from this one.