Sometimes you are certain things just aren’t meant to be no matter how much you wish it were different. And then, suddenly everything changes. It’s so unexpected that your brain can’t process it right away. Your emotions are all over the place and you end up standing in your own way. Emmanuelle Holmes never thought she’d have anything more than Jacob Decker’s friendship. After all, he was her best friend’s boyfriend.
Fast forward nine years. PI Jacob has a hard time linking present-time Emme to the girl he once knew. He realizes that friendship simply won’t be enough this time around, but stopping her from running scared might just be his biggest challenge yet.
Kristen Ashley has a gift for bringing characters to life and I wasn’t disappointed this time around. I was able to feel what Emme was feeling. I could literally hear her thoughts and had no problem understanding her actions. Wanting to reestablish her friendship with Deck and acting accordingly (welcoming him with open arms) came naturally to her. She had missed him and even though they hadn’t seen each other in a long time she knew that deep down he was still a good guy; someone worth spending time with. Ashley made sure to skillfully weave enough background info into the very first chapters and their chance meeting in turn played out exactly like I imagined it would be. Normally I love an unexpected turn of events, but considering the characters shared past I needed a drama free reunion. Drama free in terms of that so rarely experienced underlying feeling of genuinely liking someone. Of course there was tension as well, we are talking Kristen Ashley here, but it stemmed from another factor or rather person, that is.
I loved that Deck was so sure about his feelings towards Emme and wasted no time in communicating them to her. The conflict, the hurdles along the way weren’t a blown out of proportion type misunderstanding but understandable fears and insecurities instead. Deck recognized the situation for what it was. I felt so bad for him. He knew the inevitable would happen at some point. Paired with their chemistry as friends, as an item, as human beings with good intentions…their story was a huge win for me. I enjoyed it very much.
On to the one aspect that frustrated me to no end. I came to obsessively love Ashley’s plots; not just the romance, but the splash of danger and mystery. The angst and hold your breath moments. She’s so unbelievable talented at bringing it all together by way of ripping it to shreds first. The result: the outcome will be that much sweeter (in every possible sense of the word). However, Kaleidoscope was missing that special final ingredient. Dare I say the suspense was more –ish than anything else and definitely predictable. It had a contemporary feel to it. Now, what’s so bad about that you might ask yourself? It’s not bad per say, but I have never once thought of Ashley’s work as “just” contemporary.