Bride for a Night
This book was horrible. While no one thing stands out as particularly awful, the book suffered from a pervasive feeling of yuck. Generally speaking, I think it had too many plot devices tied together only by its vapid dialogue and stupid characters.
Cairo McKnight and Duncan Kincaid hook up early on when Cairo decides, rather conveniently, that she needs Duncan’s help getting a tour off the ground. Cairo’s business is that of conducting tours of exotic locales for well-heeled adventurer wannabes. A recent plane crash during one of said tours leaves her business suffering from some serious bad press and subsequent financial problems. She feels that Duncan, a well-known modern day Indiana Jones and her former husband, is just the ticket to solve her cash flow problems. She boldly seeks him out in some underground caverns he is exploring in remote southeastern Montana.
Married on a whim five years earlier and very much in love, they were also very young and various outside forces and circumstances conspired to separate them. For instance, Duncan left his young bride the morning after their passion-filled wedding night on the trail of a hot adventure tip. His intention was to return (of course) but, for some reason, he ended up in jail and failed to return. As a result, Cairo, thinking herself abandoned at the altar of true love, let her parents talk her into an annulment not knowing she was pregnant.
Let me guess? You’ve read this book before? Well, maybe not this book but one or two others that sound frighteningly similar? I believe this would be the natural consequence of using tried and true and overused plot devices to string together a story. Cairo’s pregnancy conveniently sets in motion the “hidden child” subplot, which could very well be the plot, but I am not sure. She never tells Duncan that he is father because she is afraid that, after what he did on the morning after their wedding, that he would be a poor excuse for a parent. She raises their son alone but for the assistance of her funky Aunt Phoebe, until she is “forced” to seek out Duncan’s help. Needless to say, Duncan was a bit peeved when he finds out he has a son but that’s how this plot device works. The offended party stomps off in a huff until the lovers kiss and make-up.
Cairo and Duncan are cardboard characters created to further a plot with no substance. I found the secondary romance between her aunt and his father to be much more interesting than any hot sex Duncan and Cairo ever managed to have on an altar of ancient ruins. Then there is their son, Dylan, who at four is just too cute if you know what I mean. I’m not sure, but I think he may have been able to walk on water.
And, of course, what romance novel founded on the premise of adventurism, would be complete without the proverbial “lost city of gold” or the mysterious voice? Every once in awhile, just to liven things up a bit I suppose, a long dead explorer named Angus would speak to Duncan and urge him on in his quest for the elusive City of Gold. To be quite honest, I would actually forget about Angus (forgettable character that he was) but every once in awhile, some of the print-type in the book would surreptitiously be italicized and that would tip me off that old Angus was back.
One other really rather petty thing that drove me nuts was the overuse of the two words, stalagmites and stalactites. Yes, a goodly portion of this story took place in underground caves where there are presumably lots of these formations but did these words have to be used ad nauseum?
The one bright spot in this book, as I briefly mentioned earlier, was the romance between Cairo’s aunt and Duncan’s father. For whatever reason, Phoebe and Graham respectively had the fire and the intensity that their more youthful counterparts lacked. Go figure. Personally, I think it was because they seemed real. Aunt Phoebe, a mature, never-married artist, gets the hots for Duncan’s father when she sees him at a restaurant she is visiting with Dylan. Duncan’s father, confined to a wheelchair since a car accident which left his beloved wife dead, gets a little hot under the collar as well when he spies this feisty woman in colorful clothes. They have real conversations about real issues. I mean, I like my romance as well as the next romance lover, but I also like it when people, even characters in books, deal realistically with their own insecurities and vulnerabilities. To me, that is what makes a good romance, whether it is in a book or in real life. Too bad the book could not have devoted more time to Graham and Phoebe’s Affaire de Coeur. The title might not have been as catchy as Bride for a Night, but the book would have been a lot more interesting.
Duncan and Cairo – well – I wish them well wherever they are going and on whatever adventures they undertake. I certainly hope they live happily ever after but their romance lit no fire in my heart and I seriously have to wonder how it lit a fire in theirs.