Destiny’s Song by Kim Louise
(Arabesque/BET, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-58314-173-1
***
Destiny Chandler is due for a little R&R after surviving several harrowing incidents of abuse and stalking by her ex-boyfriend, Rico Freeman. With Rico ensconced in a Nebraska prison for three years, Destiny has taken a hiatus from her job with the state arts and humanities council to visit an old friend, an ex-boyfriend, in Atlanta.

As Destiny is preparing to go on her trip, images of pop singer, Xavier Allgood, are everywhere. In the CD her best friend gives her, in the cover story of a magazine she reads on the plane and, in the home of her friend, Davis Van Houten. Allgood has hired Davis’ information technology company to work with him on a project. Apparently, the singer-client has a tendency to show up unannounced.

He is more than a little intrigued to find Destiny at Davis’ house singing and dancing to one of his songs. She is unaware of his presence; he is unaware that she has perfected her self-defense skills. Xavier startles Destiny by calling out to her and she flattens the man she has spent an entire day fantasizing about. He literally falls at her feet. It is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

While Xavier is extremely attracted to Destiny, he has been badly hurt. And, because of his celebrity status, is hesitant to get involved. Another deterrent to his relationship with her is the murky status of her relationship with Davis. Destiny continually sends him mixed signals and, when he sees the two of them together, there is a big misunderstanding. An ex-girlfriend is also lurking in the shadows.

Destiny’s Song is the debut novel of Kim L. Whiteside, writing as Kim Louise. Her work represents a fresh voice among the next generation of romance writers. It is full of music, motion and the club scene. Old school readers like me will have to keep a glossary close by to navigate the hip-hop jargon and contemporary references.

There is a handful of new author rough sports that will smooth out as her experience and confidence as a writer develops. The plot is somewhat predictable. And, the promise of the premise as outlined in the prologue is long in coming to fruition. It makes for a very disjointed narrative in spots.

The secondary characters - with the exception of Jacqueline and Davis - offer minimal support. The promise of a secondary romance is often more intriguing than that of Destiny and Xavier.

The novel touches upon domestic violence issues. The author makes her point without lecturing to her readers.

Kim Louise is off to a good start with her first novel. She has a style and focus that will appeal to a new segment of romance readers. I look forward to her next book.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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