Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wish by Kelly Hunter

Why I read it:   After my less than successful experience with my first try of something from the Destiny imprint, I was keen to read another which I liked.  I've heard about Australian author Kelly Hunter from various trusted reviewers and I even have another of her Harlequin books on my TBR but I hadn't read any.  When I saw this on NetGalley, I felt like this would be a sure bet.  I was right.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads) All single mother Billie Temple wants for Christmas is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home.

All widowed cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to go away.

Someone's got a problem.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I've always thought it takes a special talent to write short.  To tell a good story in less than 100 pages is a talent I both recognise and envy (if I ever do write a book, I can't imagine it being short!).  And, sure I could happily have read more about Billie and Adam, but, the story was told and very enjoyably too in that less than 100 pages.  

Ms. Hunter creates characters using bold strokes but which nevertheles feel complete.  She doesn't use a lot of words to explain the characters, letting them largely speak for themselves, but there was enough that I had a very clear picture of the main players, without any of them feeling like caricatures.   I enjoyed the humor too - the way she portrayed Adam's initial interest in Billie is one example:
Billie was doing the rounds for empties when he walked in and she looked businesslike and efficient in tailored black trousers and a crisp white shirt. Not that he’d been expecting a miniskirt, fishnets, and six-inch heels, no, but a man had his fantasies and that one had been particularly vivid.  
I had half expected the book would be on the sweet side of the steam scale, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the heat level was higher than that - no shying away from use of the word clitoris.  There wasn't tons and tons of sex - it's not an erotic romance and of course, it's not very long, but there was enough for the story and it was well done too.

Billie is open about her desire for Adam from early on and it is obvious he is struggling with feeling the same way even though after the death of his wife and son in a car accident some years before, he's not looking for a relationship.  The presence of Billie and her son on his property is enough to give him the heebie geebies and it's bringing all sorts of uncomfortable emotions to the surface.  He's gruff and outright rude but he is at heart, a good man and a protector and he is drawn to Billie.

Eventually they start up a friends with benefits type arrangement, on the quiet and with no strings from either side - Adam can't bring himself to use Cal's name referring to him as "the boy" and Billie knows that a relationship with a man who can't include her son in his life is doomed.  But, he's sexy and she's lonely so, despite her better judgement she embarks on a fling.   When some strange things start happening in town and it looks like Billie is under threat, Adam's protective instincts outweigh his reticence and he takes Billie and Cal into his home.   And he finds, against his will, he likes it.

I enjoyed the Australian setting and farming work peppered throughout the story and  I liked how Billie stood up for herself with her new boss at the pub Roly and got her way in getting the pub modernised and bringing in new customers.  The "suspense" plot was a little thin I suppose but it all made sense and as I read for the romance I wasn't bothered by it.

Billie has been through a lot in her life too and I appreciated that she was the sort of person who could take a little time to grieve but then got up and moved on with optimism, without being a Mary Sue.  Adam sees that and takes some inspiration I think.

I also enjoyed the scene where Adam went shopping.  Very fun. :)

The book is nothing earth-shattering - just a sweet sexy and short contemporary but I really enjoyed it.  The length is just right to finish in an evening and it left me with a smile on my face. 

What else?   According to Goodreads, the book was first released last year but it is up at NetGalley now as release for the new Destiny imprint so I guess it is getting a new audience. 

I enjoyed Ms. Hunter's writing voice and will definitely be reading more from her.

Grade:  B+


Marg said...

I read this when it was first self-published and thought it was a sweet story. I did go on a bit of a Kelly Hunter glom at the end of last year. She is one of few category authors that I actively watch out for new books from. Sarah Mayberry is another.

Kaetrin said...

@Marg I actually thought this book had a "touch of the Mayberry" but that could have been because the last Mayberry I read had a character called Billie in it too. :)