This is Senetra’s TBR challenge review. I was remiss in posting it on Wednesday due to real life events monopolizing my time but here it is folks.
The book I pulled out of my TBR pile for this month is , one of my favorite Kimani authors. It’s an Arabesque novel, a line that was first published by Kensington, then bought by BET, then sold to Harlequin and now published under Kimani Press.
I mention this because this book is one of a connected series that has been been continued through all the sales of the line, and might have different publishers listed. The families involved are the Deverauxs, Cochrans, and maybe some Argonnes, but I can’t say for certain because I haven’t read all the books yet. That said, there are A LOT of people in and out of the story. Some had their stories previously, some will have their stories, and since I’ve read out of order, I’m not always sure who is who, when, or where.
Ceylon Simmons is a semi-famous actress and singer who was raised by her grandparents after her mother left her at the hospital following her birth. She has older siblings, but her mother chose to raise them. Ceylon wants to be accepted by her siblings so much that she hired her brother Duane as her manager, only to have him steal all of her money and flee the country. Her mother, Louise, (you remember her, she abandoned Ceylon at the hospital) asks her not to press charges, so she doesn’t.
Duane also avoided paying her income taxes for five years, which she discovered when the IRS came calling. Instead of filing bankruptcy (which I don’t think is something you can do in real life to avoid the IRS), Ceylon has been working non-stop for a couple of years to repay what she still owes after the IRS confiscated and sold everything she owned. When she finally collapses, her friend Bennie offers her the use of her family’s beach house to recuperate, where Ceylon runs into Martin Deveraux, Bennie’s brother-in-law. Martin’s there to install an outdoor shower, and Ceylon has had a kind-of crush on him for a while.
Martin Deveraux was scarred in an car accident almost a decade ago. He discovered his wannbe-model wife was about to have an abortion so she could leave him for someone richer who didn’t want children. He sped off in the car to stop her, only to crash in an attempt to avoid an accident ahead of him. When his wife does show up at the hospital, she vomits at the sight of his missing eye and burns from the accident. His beloved toddler nieces also cried when they came to visit him at the hospital, so he decided that they shouldn’t have to endure his horrible visage, but the younger babies who were born after the accident don’t know anything different and get to see him all the time.
This book had a few different story lines for the two characters. First, there’s Ceylon’s money. Is she really that stupid? Martin decides to hire an investigator to find Duane and set up a sting. Then Ceylon decides it was stupid to let Duane get away with what he did. Too late, the sting worked, money is recovered. Then Louise tells Ceylon that it was really mean to press charges after Duane got arrested for his shady dealings, and threatens to tell the world who Ceylon’s real (famous) daddy is. And we find out that’s why she left her at the hospital. Between the dramas about Ceylon’s money, Martin decides it’s time to get a new eye and have plastic surgery to remove the scar. He also finds out that his nieces cried because their favorite uncle was hurt, not because he was hideous. Martin makes up with the family members he distanced himself from, including his identical twin brother. Louise reveals to the world the news about Ceylon’s parentage. Someone dies in a plane crash, setting up a later book. A LOT of characters make appearances, and at some point Martin and Ceylon fall in love, but I’m not sure where.