The Way We Wed
According to studies, men fall in love at first sight more often than women. This is exactly what happens to Jeff Kirby, the hero of The Way We Wed the latest installment in Silhouette’s A Year of Loving Dangerously series. This is a pretty good older woman/younger man romance but unfortunately, the action/adventure takes place in the background and very much off stage, which has been my major beef with the entire series to date.
We first met Jeff, the adopted son of SPEAR agent East Kirby, in the first book of the series Mission Irresistible, where he was kidnapped and buried alive by agents of Simon the terrorist who is truying to bring down SPEAR. After his rescue, Jeff goes to a ranch operated by SPEAR to rest and recover from his ordeal. While there he meets SPEAR agent Tish Buckner.
Tish is a lovely woman and Jeff falls in love with her at first sight. She is more reserved, but Jeff is persistent and pretty soon they are lovers. Their relationship leads to a pregnancy, a marriage, a miscarriage and an estrangement. When Tish goes back in the field as a SPEAR agent, she suffers minor injuries, but a major concussion at the hands of Simon. Jeff, who has never stopped loving her, rushes back and takes up a vigil at her bed.
Most of The Way We Wed is told in flashbacks as Jeff sits by Tish’s bedside. The flashbacks are handled quite well and did not distract me at all. Since the action/adventure part of the story in this book is practically nill, it stands or falls on the characters and their relationship, and for the most part I thought they were quite likable.
Jeff is practically perfect. He had a terrible early life, with drunken parents and a stint of living on the streets, but his adoption by East Kirby gave him security and love. Jeff’s basic personality is one of kindness and caring which has led him to study medicine. He is a very good example of a beta hero. There is not a lot of complexity to Jeff at all; he falls in love at first sight and remains constant through all the storm and stress that he is put through.
Tish is a reserved woman. Her early life was one of privilege, until she found out the secret of her birth, and that discovery – which came at the same time that she realized the man she loved was courting her only for her family’s money and prestige – caused her to withdraw and keep men at arms length. Thank goodness she is presented as a woman who is wary and careful of relationships and not one whose attitude is: “my family lied to me and my boyfriend used me therefore I hate you“. She is older than Jeff (36 to his 24) and that too makes her wary of this ardent young man who is wooing her with such devotion.
There is one part of this book that bothered me. Jeff and Tish take absolutely no precautions when it comes to sex. He does not use a condom, does not ask about birth control, and doesn’t even consider the possibility of STDs. Jeff is a doctor after all, and it is not that his and Tish’s first sexual excounter comes in the midst of a white-hot fit of passion – she is, as I have said, skittish about relationships and he has to woo her. The lack of even a thought about pregnancy by a doctor of all people bothered me.
We don’t see Simon the terrorist at all, nor do we see Jonah, the head of SPEAR whom Simon is trying to bring down. Tish’s injury from a bomb blast could have just as easily have been from a car crash, so those readers (like me) who want to know more about Simon and his agenda are doomed to stay in the dark.
This is a small matter, but the cover for this book is terrible. I know that Jeff is supposed to be younger than Tish, but the model on the cover looks like he is about 12. In the small picture on the back of the book, his hat is bigger than he is and he looks to be a good half foot shorter than Tish. When I saw it, I thought he looked like a boy asking his mommy if he can ride the horsies.
The next book involves a SPEAR sniper. Since there are only two more books in the series, I have pretty well resigned myself to not seeing any action, but I do hope that since we are almost at the end, we will see something of Jonah and Simon and find out their relationship. In the meantime, I will re-read one of Suz Brockmann’s SEAL books. Now there is a lady who can combine romance and action. Stay tuned.