Better Than Ever/Mejor Que Nunca
Better Than Ever is part of Kensington’s ambitious Encanto line, which features the same story in English and Spanish. In previous AAR reviews the consensus seems to be that the stories are okay, but not great. This installment also fits that description.
It’s been seven years since Maya Alfonso has seen Alex Martinez. Alex and Maya were engaged in college, but differences in their plans for the future caused them to split up. Fate brings them to Miami at the same time, Alex to see his family, Maya on business. When they see each other again, it’s clear there is unfinished business between them.
Better Then Ever is a short story, so things move briskly. Alex and Maya fall into bed after their first date, and after the lovin’ is over, Alex starts dropping bombs. He’s divorced, he has a five-year-old daughter, and he’s still in love with Maya. Maya is given a few pages for her reservations, but by the second date she’s instructing her secretary to keep Tuesday and Friday evenings open for Alex and his daughter Samantha.
Around the halfway mark, I took inventory: Maya loves Alex, Alex loves Maya. Maya and Samantha love each other, they live in neighboring towns. So where’s the conflict? Maya’s career. She’s part of a burgeoning biotech company (staffed by the best looking scientists in existence) and Alex has sworn off career women following his relationship with his ex-wife, who had no interest in being a wife or mother. Maya is nothing like that: she adores Samantha and she goes to great lengths to make time to spend with her and Alex. Her efforts seem to escape Alex’s attention, but when she does have to spend more time at work, he always pouts. If he had not known her in pre-med I may have found this easier to accept, but he fell in love with an ambitious woman. I wanted to tell him to face it, deal with it, get over it.
The storyline is neither strong nor intriguing and the author rounds out the plot with details of Maya’s business ventures, a secondary romance between her two bickering business partners, and lots of sex. The pace jumps from breakneck speed to a slow crawl. Aside from being irked at Alex’s “my way or the highway” attitude, this book didn’t move me one way or the other. In time, I’m sure this line will produce some exceptional stories but as for Better Than Ever, it’s better than nothing – but that ain’t saying much.