Title: No Souvenirs
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary M/M, interracial
Length: Novel (158 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A vacation fling. No complications. No connections. And no regrets. Trauma surgeon Jae Sun Kim has just lost the job he wanted more than anything else in his life. Looking for a way to hit the reset button, he takes a scuba vacation. He didn’t plan on seasickness, or a dive master who is sex-on-the-beach personified.
Shane McCormack’s tendency to drift away from complicated situations has landed him a job as a dive master in Belize, which isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. But with the big three-oh looming, asking his parents to bail him out again isn’t an option. The job isn’t without its perks, though, and as soon as he figures a way to keep that hot but arrogant ass of a doctor from tossing his cookies over the side of the boat, he plans to flirt the control freak out of his brittle shell.
The close quarters on the ship generate more heat than either expects, but a vacation fling is all that’s in the plans. An unexpected adventure leaves them changed in ways that make it impossible to go back to their old lives. The risks they’ll both have to take could leave them with nothing but more scars, or the best souvenir of all.
We met Dr. Jae Sun Kim, a trauma surgeon, in Collision Course which I really loved, reviewed here . In No Souvenirs Kim is taking an unexpected break from his job because the fellowship he wanted didn’t materialize and a refresher course in diving to give himself some time to decide on his future career direction seemed a good choice. When he arrived on the ship he found out that the great looking dive master, Shane McCormack, was his roommate and he figured what better way to recharge his batteries than to have a short fling even though he didn’t care for Shane’s type. Shane was also turned off by Kim whom he considered a cold fish, but he wasn’t averse to bedding the doctor, and after Jay (as Shane called him) recovered from a minor bout of seasickness it was all systems go.
Kim thought that Shane was just an ignorant cowboy with no brains under his hat and he was constantly surprised and intrigued by him when Shane demonstrated that there was much more to him than was apparent on the surface. Shane’s laid back attitude toward life and work was not something he could relate to but he only wanted to have sex with the man, not have a commitment, so it was off to the races for both of them. The sex was very hot and Shane thought that Kim was the best lover he had ever had, but he discovered that he was also interested in the doctor on a more personal level, and against his better judgment he found himself falling for him.
One evening they went out on a night dive and got into a life-threatening situation. First, the ship didn’t pick them up as arranged, then there was a waterspout headed their way, but Shane’s most dangerous encounter was with a Portugese man-o-war jellyfish. It was here that Kim really shone, not only as a doctor but as a warm and caring human being. This was a terrifying ordeal for both men – Shane, who was near death and Kim who fought tooth and nail to keep him alive. When they were rescued and back on dry land Kim left for home after Shane was on his way to full recovery from his near death experience, but Shane decided to go after the man he wanted, so he showed up at Kim’s house in Jacksonville and they began an affair in earnest.
My problems with this book stemmed from what I thought was too much medical terminology. I don’t know if the author was trying to impress readers with her knowledge, but as a reader I’m not looking for a medical or technical text book to explain simple health conditions. This prose, some of which I had never seen in an M/M romance, was sprinkled throughout the book. Here are a few examples-
Vinegar, hot fresh water and urine are contraindicated in siphonophora envenomations. Rinse in saltwater and remove the still-active nematocysts by shaving or with sticky tape.
There was no rhabdomyolysis in his bloodstream. No hemolysis. Remove the envenoming object. Hemolytic or neurotoxic? He grazed the firm swell of the vastus medialis, increasing pressure along the long adductor.
When K.W. Mitchell stuck to regular English she was actually quite funny and both the prose and dialogue flowed well.
“You need a shower, Cowboy. You look rode hard and put up wet.”
—his cock twitched with an aftershock—dick heaven.
“You aren’t blowing me.” Shane’s grin flashed, bright in the dark room. “Now how did I miss that little detail?” Kim arched his brows. “Well, maybe not so little.”
I really wanted to rate this book higher but because of my issue with some of the prose I couldn’t. I believe in the KISS principle – Keep It Simple for readers who are just looking for a book that we can enjoy, with characters that we can relate to and a plot that’s not too difficult to understand. This book fell slightly short of the mark. However, on the plus side, Joey and Aaron from Collision Course made several appearances in the story with the resulting humour that always followed them. The writing overall was very good, the characters were well drawn, and I really liked Shane who surprised Kim on a number of levels by pretending to be a dumb cowboy (not that cowboys are dumb) as a defence mechanism because he was easily bored and used this persona as a cover. Kim realized that being in control of every aspect of his life was not going to work if he wanted Shane in it permanently. Their interaction was amusing, the sex was off the scale, and Shane’s laid back personality seemed to fit with Kim’s more controlled and disciplined approach to life.
I think you will like the chracters and the book despite my reservations, so I’m going to recommend No Souvenirs.