As I stare at this page preparing to review “When You Are Mine” I’m overcome with ambivalence. As a romantic, this hit some high notes but the push/pull between the star-crossed couple and the soul mates is like watching a train wreck in action. It’s an unmitigated disaster but you can’t look away. Cam, Kerris and Walsh are a classic love triangle. Cam and Walsh have been best friends since summer camp so many years ago and are as close as brothers. Problem is, they both love Kerris, but Cam staked his claim first. And to Cam, “staking his claim” is pretty much the same as a title of ownership. “She’s mine!” he says, as if Kerris is his property. (Eye roll at the ‘me Tarzan, you Jane’ attitude.) Walsh, being the good friend and gentleman he is, steps aside and grinds his teeth to nubs during the nuptials. The torch he carries continues to burn brightly and even though she has the best of intentions, Kerris is drawn to Walsh as the moth is to the flame. Someone is bound to get burned.
“When You Are Mine” is the first book in The Bennetts series by Kennedy Ryan and she highlights the dichotomy between the backgrounds of, let’s call them our three musketeers. Cam’s mother was an addict who turned to prostitution to support her habit to which he was an unfortunate witness. Kerris is a mixed race beauty who came up through the foster system. And Walsh grew up in luxury and has established a foundation that supports orphans and orphanages worldwide. He’s a veritable poster child for good citizenry. So Cam and Kerris feel some kinship and despite his more advantageous circumstances, Walsh is no society snob. But even with the brotherly bond between the two men, Cam harbors an underlying resentment that surfaces when he catches his wife and his best friend in an unguarded moment. It was only a kiss but…..
Author Ryan’s prose is more flowery than I recall from other books of hers I’ve read. It was so extravagant in places I had to check and make sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up a volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While on the subject of prose, author Ryan should consider upgrading her Copy Editor to the 2.0 version. 1) “……nervous as a cat ready to be spaded.” The females of domestic animals get SPAYED (not spaded) to prevent unwanted litters. 2) “…..a glorious male animal in heat.” This I believe is a physical impossibility since the males of mammalian species do not experience a heat cycle as do female dogs and cats. I’m dismayed that these faux pas escaped notice. Was someone sleeping on the job?
That said, even considering my critical comments I still enjoyed the story and have already started reading Book Two in the series, “Loving You Always”. Fair Warning: Book One is a bit of a cliffhanger. Three and a half stars.
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