Wanting Something More
Kathy Love’s Wanting Something More is the last of a trilogy featuring the Stepp sisters. The first book in the series, Wanting What You Get was wonderful, the second Getting What You Want was terrible and this one is mediocre. The characters are nice, albeit a bit bland, but the plot is plodding and marred by a silly misunderstanding.
Marty Stepp is the youngest of the “ugly Stepp sisters”. In high school she was always teased for being a tall skinny beanpole. The only person who was nice to her was Nathaniel Peck, and Marty really liked him. Then one evening at a dance, Nathaniel kissed her and she finds out that he did it on a dare to kiss one of the ugly Stepp sisters. Hurt and furious, she leaves her home town as soon as she can.
Since Marty is tall and skinny, she becomes a supermodel known for her ads for Calvin Klein. She was linked romantically to fellow model Arturo and then to another model Rod Mitchell. Marty is rich, famous and beautiful and then seemingly has the world wrapped around her finger. Then one day she tells her agent she’s going home and flees back to Maine, where she runs into Nathaniel, now the chief of police.
Nate was a good looking boy who has matured into a devastatingly handsome man, but he isn’t the arrogant boy Marty knew in high school. Nate was badly beaten by someone who broke into his home and kicked him unconscious one evening and he’s still recovering from his injuries. During his ordeal Nate had an out of body experience where he saw the man he was and didn’t like him. Nate has become an entirely different man; he no longer bullies people, and he has quit drinking and womanizing. He’s even become a vegetarian. Nate plans to quit police work and start a camp for disadvantaged children on some land he owns. At first suspicious, Marty eventually warms up to Nate (who wouldn’t?) the man is a saint.
There really isn’t a lot of conflict here. We know that Nate and Marty will get together, and the identity of the man who beat Nate is apparent very early on. They begin by glowering at each other, then they tentatively warm up and then finally fall headlong in love. Nate and Marty’s love story is pleasant, the love scenes are nice and sensual, but there’s there’s a silly (really silly) misunderstanding before the happy ending. I liked both characters well enough – Nate is a sweet beta hero, and Marty is likable too. But both are rather bland and immature, and Marty is altogether naive and predictable. She dated Arturo for over a year during which he would not have sex with her. All that time and she had no idea he was gay. Now really! I know Marty was from a small town, but you’d think she’d have learned the facts of life pretty quickly in the modeling world. Her next relationship was with a man who was a control freak, who drove her out of town and back to Maine. Marty is not inclined to think good thoughts about the male sex and she spends a lot of time in “all men stink and I hate them” mode before she finally warms up to Nate.
I really would not feel very safe with Nate as the police chief. I don’t think he needed to go around with a truncheon, beating heads and kicking butts, but he was so kind and gentle that I doubt if he’d swat a mosquito. He doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to solve the mystery of who beat him so badly, and spends most of his time mooning over Marty. He is sweet as can be, but I think I’d have liked him better with a harder edge.
I see by the exerpt in the back of the book, that Kathy Love’s next book will be titled Fangs For The Memories. Looks like farewell small town Americana and hello paranormal. Kathy Love can write – I hope this change of pace will bring her back to the excellence of her first book.