Tempted by Fate
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It’s not a secret that I’ve been on the hunt for a good romance novel for a long time. I feel as if every book review ends with “meh, you should pass on this one” or even “avoid it at all costs!” I didn’t want my readers to think I’m too much of a Negative Nancy, a critic who hates everything that crosses her desk. So I was relieved when I read Tempted by Fate by Kate Perry. It might not have been the greatest romance novel I’ve ever read, but it certainly was good enough to break me out of my romance novel funk.

Tempted by Fate is set in present-day San Francisco, which was a nice change of pace from my usual historical settings. In the book, we meet Willow Tarata, a young woman with a very large responsibility on her shoulders. Like her mother before her, Willow is a Guardian, a member of an ancient Chinese order in charge of guarding scrolls that contain mystical teachings about different elements or parts of nature. Willow is the Guardian of Wood (I have to admit that I was surprised that Perry didn’t make any jokes or double entendres about “wood,” but perhaps she felt it would be too easy). Whoever possesses all of the scrolls at the same time will come into unimaginable power. Along with Willow’s guardianship comes a certain amount of Chinese mysticism and magic (called mu chi), which I found a bit tiresome at times. In addition to protecting the scroll, Willow is being pursued by the Bad Man—an enemy who has a much closer bind to her than she could ever imagine.

We also meet Homicide Inspector Rick Ramirez. Despite being a tall, dark, and handsome Latin lover, Inspector Ramirez is a slave to his job. He’s been investigating a series of bizarre murders—crimes that seem to have a supernatural bent about them, and ones that Willow seems to be tied to. Despite having a healthy respect for things he cannot explain, Rick is definitely a skeptic. There has to be a rational explanation for these strange crimes—but once Ramirez meets Willow, he begins to doubt the rationality of anything.

All in all, Tempted by Fate is a pretty good book. I’m unfamiliar with the city of San Francisco, so I enjoyed using my imagination to envision the book’s surroundings. The dialogue is smart and snappy, using just enough colloquialisms to be trendy but not obnoxiously so.

I could have done without the mu chi business, finding it a bit hackneyed at times. I think it would have been much more compelling to have Willow guard the scroll and fight the Bad Man as just an average woman—with maybe some martial arts training. The magical aspect just seemed too, I don’t know, “ancient Chinese secret” for me (did I just date myself with that reference?).

The sex scenes are romantic and steamy—and you can see both Willow and Rick struggling to keep their eyes on the ball while also trying to keep their hands off each other. They submit to their desires in the end, of course. I only wish the sex scenes weren’t so few and far between.

I must say that this is the first book I’ve read in a long time that I’d feel comfortable recommending to a friend. I didn’t mind at all being “tempted,” and I don’t think you’ll mind, either.

Oh, one last thing—has it really been five whole years since I began writing these Fabio Files? These reviews have been a lot of fun for me to write, and I can only hope they’ve been just as fun for you to read!

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