Burke Morgan has worked hard to become a sailor and is just about to take his newly purchased yacht out for its charter run, when Dorsey, his cook and only crew-mate decides to leave for Australia. Before departing for the Land Down Under, Dorsey had made arrangements for his granddaughter, a trained chef, to come and take his place. Kamala Apolo has been saving up to get out of the restaurant rat race, and start her own catering service. Sailing with Burke during the busy holiday tourist season will make her dream possible in six short weeks rather than having to put up with harassment from her boss for another year or more. The only problem is that Kam suffers from terrible motion sickness. Unfortunately her plans of brazening it out come to a screeching halt within less than an hour of boarding the boat. Kam also finds herself with an irresistible attraction to her new boss, so when Burke suggests some "motion exercises" to help her overcome her seasickness, Kam is more than happy to try whatever he has planned for her.
I can't say that I'm terribly enthusiastic about boats and/or sailing, so for that reason alone Making Waves didn't fully resonate with me. I've never seen a yacht up close, so I have no idea what one looks like, especially inside. Unfortunately the author's descriptions left something to be desired on that count, making it difficult for me to imagine the setting. I also thought that her balance between dialog and prose was off kilter, and sometimes both were a bit too verbose. There were some long passages of introspective narration that made the story drag for me, and there were equally long sections of dialog, most of which didn't add much to the plot or characterizations. Some also took place during moments of passion, and I've never really cared much for chatty love scenes. As for the love scenes themselves, they could have been smokin' hot if they had just flowed better. Even setting aside Burke and Kamala's talkativeness, the way they were written was a little too choppy and metaphorical, causing me to have to re-read certain parts just to figure out where they were in the love-making process. I also didn't find their bluntness about their desire for one another to be a particular turn-on. I just favor having a little mystery surrounding the protagonists feelings while still keeping it honest.
I was rather ambivalent about Burke and Kam as the hero and heroine. I like alphas, but Burke seemed to be more the cocky playboy type who thinks he can have any woman he wants, which wasn't really to my taste. Even though I was a little skeptical of Burke's "cure" for motion sickness, I did think it was rather sweet that he made the effort to help Kam overcome it. If nothing else, I thought I might like the inter-ethnic aspect of their romance, since Kam is Hawaiian, but she wasn't really a stand-out heroine for me. I admired that she was a woman who had worked hard to become a great chef and wasn't allowing her overbearing family to run her life, but seemingly contrary to her personality, she had quit a job where she was being sexually harassed by her boss and never tried to do anything about it legally. I thought her reasoning for that was weak, and what was even more confusing to me is that since she had no sailing experience, she wore skimpy clothes to meet Burke just in case she needed to use her looks to get the job. Also, the moment she set foot on Burke's boat, she almost immediately allowed him to start groping her, but I guess maybe that's supposed to be OK if you're attracted to the guy. Regrettably this turned out to be another one of the instant lust tales that I'm rapidly tiring of these days, with Burke and Kamala literally tearing each other's clothes off within less than an hour of meeting, and I can't say that I ever felt much of an emotional connection between them. Also, the Christmas theme is something of an afterthought.
Making Waves is the fourth story in the Men of Rogues Hollow series. While I rarely ever read series books out of order, I made an exception with this one, because I was eager to wrap-up the Merry Christmas, Baby anthology in which it is found. Burke had been mentioned in passing in the first novella, Baby It's Cold Outside (from the Jingle Bell Rock anthology), but since I haven't read the second and third stories, Exposed (from the Bad Boys Next Exit anthology) and Catch Me if You Can respectively, I don't know if he was a part of either one. Burke's three brothers and their heroines from those stories are briefly mentioned in Making Waves with little where-are-they-now updates. In my opinion, Making Waves stood pretty well on it's own, but I had too many issues with it to truly enjoy it. After two so-so reads in a row from Donna Kauffman, I probably won't be in any hurry to complete the series.
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