Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the author.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.
As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

What worked for me (and what didn't):
I enjoy Ruthie Knox's style of writing, the sharp wit in particular.  Amber is a "good girl" who wants to be a little bit bad and who gets and opportunity after she's stuck in a shelter during a tornado, with bad boy Tony Mazzara.  I liked her descriptions of Tony:
He wasn’t a big talker, and maybe that was because his voice was such a valuable substance, he had to ration it. 

and this one (especially this one).

Tony Mazzara had a dazzling smile. Like a toothpaste commercial dipped in a porn movie.
It is this wit which makes Amber more interesting than the run-of-the-mill ingenue heroine.  Amber decides that she needs to speak up about her desires and Tony delights in making her say all the dirty words she won't let pass her lips.   As he tells her:-
“Honey, somebody’s got to teach you how to misbehave. You’re doing it all wrong.”
 Amber has had a very limited (and unsuccessful) sex life before Tony.
Her orgasms were a shy species, afraid of men.
But she figures sex-on-a-stick Tony will be able to fix what ails her.  Tony, for his part hesitates at getting into her pants because he knows she will become emotionally involved and he doesn't think he's a good bet.  The story of what happened to Patrick was so sad and unfortunately not uncommon.  I don't know how people come back from that sort of thing.  I'm not assigning blame or guilt - I just think such a tragic accident would be pretty hard to move on from.  In terms of this story, it was easier for the reader for forgive Tony because he's only peripherally involved.  I think anyone who was present would feel guilty, so his feelings and reactions made sense to me but it was also easier to see him being able to forgive himself and embrace risky emotions again.    Sure, his turnaround was quick but I was prepared to buy it in the circumstances.

There is a HFN ending (although we know that they do get a HEA because the first full length book in the series is set some years later and Tony and Amber are still happily together), which I was glad about as the story is set over a fairly short timeframe and anything more would have felt forced and it wasn't necessary anyway.  Because it has an HFN and because I know that they are still together years later when the next book begins, I looked at this novella as more of a "how they got started" story and wasn't expecting the full courtship-to-HEA tale and, on that basis, the novella worked really well for me.

There was a part near the end which felt a bit off.  Amber is talking to her mother and all of a sudden, her mum goes from a well meaning busybody type to a BFF and wants to share ice cream and sex stories.   I may be projecting here but it's nowhere I want to go.  I'm not sure the personality change was well set up in any event - it didn't feel organic to me.

What else? I really enjoyed this fun sexy little story.  It's around the 80 pages mark and is perfect for a evening's read.

I shall leave you with this:  Tony is talking about how much he likes oral sex.
He grinned. “I would hang out down here all fucking day if I could. I would move in down here. Buy a couch.”
Enough said.  :)

Grade: B+


Marg said...

I liked this the first time I read it, but it was really only when I read it a second time that I really, really enjoyed it. I think part of the reason for that was that I went straight onto the next book and expected to see more of them, but they were really only on the edges of that book. When I looked at it as purely standalone it worked much better!

Kaetrin said...

@Marg I have the next one but haven't read it yet. I'm a bit envious of your time management skills to read it twice though!