Dear Ms. Maguire:
I was unreasonably excited about reading this book as I loved your voice in Willing Victim, the imagery of your prose, and the vividness of your characters but wanted more from the emotional arc between the characters. I thought that a straight romance might deliver the entire package for me as a romance reader. While heightened expectations may have played a part in my overall discontentment with this story, I think some of it had to do with the way in which the character arc played out.
For most of the book, I did not understand the motivations of the two protagonists. What was driving them to act the way that they did, or more importantly, why they kept apart when it was so obvious the feelings that they had for each other.
This failure of mine to understand them made their actions incomprehensible. I spent far too long contemplating the whys and wherefores instead of moving with the story. And it prevented me from getting lost in the text. I was never fully engaged.
Kate Somersby, was the production assistant, personal assistant, best friend, and travel companion of Dom Tyler, the star of a survival show called Dom Tyler: Survive This! The show consists of the two them being dropped off somewhere remote and Dom having to find his way back to a checkpoint, living off the land and his wits. Kate shoots all the video.
Ty (as he does not like to be called Dominic or Dom) isn’t quite sure he wants to do his show anymore and he doesn’t want to do it with Kate. Not because he doesn’t care for Kate but because he feels like this has become increasingly dangerous to her AND because he wants Kate in a personal manner. While she is his assistant, Kate won’t let him act on his advances.
But the two engage in very heavy flirtation. Ty is often kissing her jaw, cheek, face but never her mouth. He shows up in her room at 2 am because he can’t sleep unless he is laying beside her in bed. She gives him body massages while he is laying in bed with her. He sits in the bathroom while she showers. Whatever boundaries the two of them have are thinner than a year old condom and just as weak. I didn’t believe for a minute that the two of them engaged in these games for three years and did nothing about it. At one point, early in the book, Katie says to Ty that the two of them are “everything but lovers”
You know, you and I are like everything except lovers,” she said. The statement threw Ty for a momentary loop. Hope and lust jockeyed for his attention, warming him like whiskey from the inside. “Yeah. Why? You looking to change that?” She smirked at his tone, shook her head and took another sip of beer. “Nope.” Ty’s body cooled with disappointment. “Why not?”
My credulity is strained to the snapping point because they both want each other. They both act like they want each other. Yet Kate for some reason clings to this belief that Ty’s flirting is just an act, as if he would never want her. Her lack of self confidence in that area was just as frustrating as the faux conflict.
I tried to understand that Katie and Ty were closed off and used banter and flirtation as a barrier to their attraction for each other. (A thin and specious barrier).
For example, Katie decides that if she is going to be fired by Ty and be forced to leave the most important thing in her life (the show) behind, then she might as well indulge herself on his body. Yet, she stops because she wonders whether Ty is coming on to her because he wants her to be on his side and to prevent her from running to the press? Her indecision here was problematic because it forces one to forget about all the intense flirting that Ty and she have engaged in. If she spent nearly three years with Ty, wouldn’t she get a sense of whether he was that manipulative type of guy? So none of these things add up and she doesn’t even try to put the pieces together in her mind (which again seems very contrary to her analytical mind that we are continually told she has).
And then, without any further mental gymnastics, she is on him again, this time not stopping.
I would have appreciated even one line that gave me an explanation as a reader. The line that says her analytical mind didn’t work within two feet of Ty’s body (even though that wasn’t born out by the text).
So now that I have ragged on for several paragraphs about my confusion, I admit that the extent of my frustration arises out of the fact that I liked Ty and Kate so much and wanted these two crazy kids to get together. Their adventure in Alaska was fraught with danger but also sexual tension. The sex scenes were hot (how could they not be) and once I understood where they were both coming from, the story began to gel together.
I kept wondering, though, had I not read carefully enough? Did I miss important scenes? Had I expected something else and thus my expectations were at odds with the actual text? I don’t know. I wanted to love this book but it was a struggle, at times, to connect. C