Joint review with SueC
“Secrets and Ink” is meant to be a basic fluffy romance on a mystery background with a touch of humour and sexiness. It’s a winning recipe for a pleasant moment, and Lou Harper seemed to be a sure bet, but...
Color us dumbfounded, it was not.
We have a ditzy twink MC with a guilty past to put some edge in the romance and the mystery, a curse to put a spoke in his wheels and funny lines on the page, a sexy cop to put some steam in the sheets and flutters in our breast. See? We checked, no ingredient is missing.
The beginning is not unpleasant even though the jokes are more leaning toward overused stereotypesthan wit. They ran short very fast though, and our indulgence took the same route as the hunk/ twink string was stretched to its frayed limit and the others were left unwind.
The past that could have given Jem some dimension was inexplicably left unexplored, and the link relating it to the present story remained very, very thin.
At the end of the day, Jem is a serial “screw-up” whose adorkable birdbrain card is overplayed, leaving us with an infantilized twit whose main role in the story is to be handled by the rest of the cast. Nick is a control freak with daddy vibes without the leather, and that’s the extent of their shallow dynamics.
We could have contented ourselves with mindless smut fun, but despite a few kinks thrown in the pot for good measure, albeit with no realistic introduction or reaction, the sexiness is lukewarm.
It is impossible to elaborate without spoilers, but the mystery makes no sense.
In the end, this story is made of broken plot lines and nothing substantial in-between. What the heck happened?! It is astounding that the editor and beta readers let that pass and did such a disservice to the author!