Pamela Cornes, $1.49
Contemporary Romance, 2020
Nothing in the packaging of Pamela Cornes’s Caught Up tells me that it is part one of a soap opera series, and it ends with a cliffhanger. Well, I’m telling everyone now!
I do know going into this one that adultery is central to the Story. Pastor Ryan Cole and Ava are sleeping together, but he’s married to Ava’s good friend Olivia. You know the story, I’m sure: Ryan feels that Olivia is too demanding, while Ava’s husband gets drunk often and beats her up when he’s in that state. I’m not sure how sleeping with another man will solve Ava’s domestic abuse situation, but hey, as long as she’s happy, I’m suppose.
I assumed rather foolishly that there will some good emotional punches in here, as it takes a lot of fortitude for an author to market such a story as a romance. Either Pamela Cornes has no idea about the genre, or she is confident that she can make it work. I’m hoping for the latter, hoping desperately I won’t get the former. Well, you guessed it, I get the former.
The main problem here is that Ryan is an ass. He is the kind who slips it into another woman and think, well, okay, he will just ask God for forgiveness and things will be okay.
Ryan knew all too well that God was a very present help to those who needed it. God had helped Him numerous times, and He knew God would come through for Him now. He knew He was in the wrong, but everybody deserves a second chance, and God is quick to forgive those who confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
I’m sure the capitalization of the second “he” in the last sentence is a typo, but it does reflect well on how Ryan thinks he is a god himself. Everything revolves around him. So, when Ava is pregnant, this is his reaction.
“No, I’m not,” Ryan muttered as he continued to look at his phone. “You came on to me every time we slept together. I’m not going to be the bad guy in this.”
“I’m not trying to make you the bad guy,” Ava yelled defensively. “But, it takes two. I wasn’t sleeping with myself.”
“I know you weren’t; I played a role too! But, Ava? Think. If this baby is mine, it will come between me and my wife,” Ryan said looking directly into Ava’s eyes.
Hence, this isn’t a story of forbidden love or a tale of two married people engaging in adultery due to some kind of need for emotional connection. It’s just a douchebag and his unlikable girlfriend screeching at one another because they are cheating dogs that fail at birth control. By the time I reach the cliffhanger – which is designed to let Ryan off the hook, ugh – I can only wonder why I should care to read on.
Worse, everything in this story is told. No showing allowed; it’s exposition overload from start to finish. Hence, there is no emotional richness in the whole thing, it’s just two people showing their rear ends with all the liveliness of an IKEA manual.