A Risk Worth Taking
by Zana Bell
(Harl. Super Rom #1715, $5.50, PG) ISBN 978-0373-71715-6
Cressida Curtis is a Kiwi daughter who is truly misunderstood. She walked away from what her family considered the perfect groom when he was standing at the altar because she just couldn’t convince herself that she wanted marriage. Instead she goes off on adventure after adventure, including being a stunt woman in the movies. At her cousin’s wedding she is reminded of that day two years earlier. Of course her sisters – Katherine, Portia, Desdemona – all named after Shakespearian characters – constantly remind Cressa, as she is called, of her failing. In fact, Brian, her ex, is still considered part of the family at times. Meanwhile, Cressa just does short-term and very superficial if at all.

At the wedding, however, she is introduced and highly attracted to her cousin’s wife’s brother. Sass is the bride and right before the ceremony starts her brother from America comes riding in on a motorcycle. Adam Walker has arrived. Adam is a character in his own right. He was a stunt man for awhile until he broke his back. During therapy, he decided that he needed to do something more important and has been studying to be a doctor, with his goal being surgery. He is fighting an uphill battle and only has a month until his MCAT entrance exams. At age 30, he realizes he will be older than most and isn’t even completely sure he can do it. But he is determined. Meeting and being attracted to a beautiful woman is a complication he doesn’t need, but Cressa is just not the type of woman one can forget.

These two are thrown together because Adam is staying on the island to take care of his mother while Sass is on her honeymoon. His plan is to study for the whole month. But Cressa convinces him to join her on the set and soon he is helping orchestrate the stunts. That puts them in direct contact. They both fight the attraction and realize that it is stronger than either one of them. The tale follows as they both discover who they are and what is most important to them.

There were times when I was highly entertained and there were times when there was just too much drama for me. Cressa is highly strung and I could never quite figure her out. Adam is an uneven character, being a macho guy one minute and filled with insecurities the next. There are a lot of pages where very little happens, the tale just goes on and on.

Bell tried to write a story with some substance, but because this is based on their characters’ inner turmoil, it was difficult to actually be engaged in their angst. Just when I started liking them, they would shift gears and I would have to be won over all over again. I never really “got” either of their relationships with their parents. It seemed like there was conflict there just to have conflict. What made this even made difficult is that it was their relationships with their parents that created the insecurities they both felt. If a reader understood this relationship, then they might better be able to accept all the barriers they put in the way of love and happiness. Since I couldn’t, I struggled with much of the premise.

A Risk Worth Taking was not a good risk for me, and my suggestion is to look for another story set in New Zealand if you are looking for the Kiwi touch.

--Shirley Lyons

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