Out of Her Leagueby Kaylea Cross
Book 1 of Suspense series
~ Goodreads ~
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Christa Bailey is one cut away from making the Olympic softball team when threats from an obsessed fan jeopardize her dream and her safety. Forced to put her life on hold until the risk is eliminated, she reluctantly turns to ERT officer Rayne Hutchinson for help, praying the police catch her stalker before she is cut from the team or does something stupid… like fall in love with her unattainable protector. But Christa’s stalker is something far more sinister than either of them could have imagined. With her life at stake, can Rayne keep Christa safe from this patient predator?
Out of Her League is a standard, formulaic romance with a little bit of action, a fairly solid story direction and plot, but a lot more meandering and use of tropes and cliches than I typically prefer in my Romantic Suspense readings.
Christa is the typical girl-next-door Mary Sue type who is probably the most pessimistic and cynical heroine I've encountered in a while. She really IS the whole Mary Sue package from being beautiful without realizing it, from putting herself down when comparing herself with others on a regular basis, from feeling like she doesn't deserve the man of her dreams because she believes she's plain and not fascinating enough to hold a man's attention... But she's also kind-hearted, self-less, physically fit, a fighter, and idealistic... I could go on.
She even stupidly walks herself into danger a few times despite knowing better, which I suppose that gives the book a chance to play out a damsel-in-distress scenario at least twice.
Rayne is also the typical alpha male, all broody and laced with testosterone and a hint of good ol' boy in his heart--I DO appreciate that he's such a good, respectful man. But that's really it for him. However, I DID like the details of his hostage rescue scenes even if things got a little intense.
The two of them would make perfect angel babies together, to be honest, and it almost rankles.
But they are good people. And the rest of the characters are good people. And there are good interactions and good relationships and good everything.
It was just that they were all SO boring and so typical that I started drifting and wondering when we'd get to the action.
On top of the random tangential side anecdotes that just kind of pop out of nowhere, and you've got a fairly monotonous story telling that takes a very, very long time to get from Point A to Point B, when the book could have probably been a hundred pages shorter in length.
For a standard Romantic Suspense story involving a crazy, creepy stalker slash serial rapist and killer, and a bodyguard device, I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. We keep detouring away from the main conflict and touching on it every other scene.
And the romance took a very long detour as well, dragged out to the point that it made me start screaming for someone to get laid soon. It's not like I NEED sex in my fiction to be happy about the romance, but these two spent so much time tip-toeing around their own sexual frustrations that I was surprised no one ended up imploding from all the tension.
But being that it is the first Kaylea Cross book I've read and being that I DID find a way to like the characters despite no one really standing out... I'm quite interested in reading the next book to see where it goes. It might just be the Romantic Suspense bias in me, but considering there wasn't anything that outright pissed me off in this book, I'd love to give the next book a chance to woo me before I write it off. After all, I've come across enough rocky 1st books to realize that you have to give the series a chance to take off if there's even a small flame of interest still gathering.
Because in the end, this book wasn't terrible and I DID like the people and the premise. It's just unfortunate that there was a high percentage of schmaltz, a whole check list of romantic devices strewn about, and a lot of deliberate symbolic scenes, actions, and dialogues that all felt fairly unnatural.
And also, there's a soft spot in my heart for Rayne being the utmost perfect, considerate lover a woman could ever have--and also, an endearing grin may have graced my lips during his little Spiderman stunt, climbing the rose vines one-handed to sneak into his girlfriend's guest bedroom during his and Christa's visit to his mother's home. It was kind of cute since they ARE both consenting adults, but trying to respect his mother's ideals of being traditional and proper and whatnot.
This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in December 2015.