Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Smart and Sexy

by Jill Shalvis

I’m learning many things on my writing journey and one of the things that I learned from reading this book is that even good authors evolve. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t read Smart and Sexy. Jill Shalvis has always been an excellent writer, each subsequent book published on a par with their predecessors. But this time she has outdone anything she’s ever written before. When I finished this book something happened that caught me by surprise; I was wordless. I couldn’t fit my mind around anything that could come close to describing how this book made me feel. Yes, it made me feel. Smart and Sexy is a riveting read full of humor, romance and thrills. This book is everything that I want in a romance and more; great plot, wonderful characters, and a to-die-for hero. In Noah and Bailey you get that wonderful banter that is so Jill Shalvis. That delightful Hepburn/Tracy smiles and giggles as the hero and heroine set out on their journey of discovery. You also find two people whose depth of feeling is so fully articulated that you can understand them with just a simple word, movement. You know them, you root for them, you feel everything they feel. You fall in love along with them. You hurt when they do, feel gut-wrenching pain when their heart gets broken. You not only read about their journey, you travel it with them. There were moments of out loud guffaws sprinkled with whimpering inducing sex, heart pounding chases. A plot that works. Really works. I’ve read books where the writing is good, even supreme, but the plot had holes that I’d ignored because I liked the book anyway. Not here. Not a hole anywhere. It all comes together perfectly. Noah Fisher is part owner of Sky High Air, an exclusive air charter service, along with his high school pals Brody and Shayne. Three bad boys who met in detention, found a common love of flying and forged a strong friendship. Throw in Maddie, a concierge with an attitude and you have a family just as real as those that genetics wrought. Ms. Shalvis has always paid close attention to her secondary characters, giving them the same three dimensional characteristics as her hero and heroine. You watch the tug of war between Maddie and Brody; the brotherly love of the three men; the way that Maddie corrals her little chicks, as she refers to her bosses. These are strong men with strong feelings and sense of what it means to “take care of your own.” And right now they are taking care of Noah, who six months before crashed on the way to Cabo, an accident that resulted in the death of a friend who died in Noah’s arms. He feels guilty about it, the normal survivor guilt twisted up with those natural feelings of responsibility since he was the pilot. All he wants is a few days of R & R and a couple of ski bunnies to warm up the winter night, or day – he wasn’t particular. It wasn’t his big crush, former model and trophy wife Bailey Sinclair (I like that name, btw), but it would do. He wasn’t in her league anyway. Bailey was in trouble. Alan Sinclair had dated her on a bet, married her and then pretty much ignored her. But that was okay, she went to school and got a teaching degree. She was content, and happy, or so she thought. But then her husband is killed in a hunting accident, the truth about her marriage came out, and she was broke. Not only that, but a former business colleague threatens her life, that of her brother Kenny and even those of the second graders that she teaches, all for some money that her husband swindled from him. She’s in a jam, and sky-jacking a charter plane to find the money seemed like the only thing to do. But she hadn’t counted on Noah as the pilot on the one plane that was going where she needed to go. Bailey didn’t have a lot of trust in her, but could she learn to trust this sexy bad boy?

It’s a five star read.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Imagine my glee when I saw that two of my favorite erotica authors were in a book together. Sasha white and Saskia Walker sizzle in Kink, two stories of scintillating sex and kinky games.

First is Watch Me by Sasha White. Sasha’s sexy voice is all over this erotic story of a married couple, Bethany and Grant, who have reached a slump in their marriage. Bethany loves her husband, he’s her soul mate, but he’s working so hard that she rarely sees him. The joy that had once been their marriage is now turned into a rut, and Beth is feeling lonely and neglected. It starts out innocently enough one morning with a roofer on the house next door. Beth puts on a little show for him and suddenly finds herself feeling turned on, desired for the first time in a while and it feels good. Beth didn’t think about it as cheating, after all she wasn’t having sex with anybody. She does this a couple of more times, increasingly turned on by these acts of exhibitionism. But then Grant finds out and the dynamics of their marriage changes. Suddenly he becomes the Master in a game of dominance, with Beth as his sex slave and she loves it. The sex is extremely hot, the story tight and riveting. A delightful read.

The second story is Sex, Lies and Bondage by Saskia Walker. As playful as Ms. White’s is serious, this one will have you smiling. Kelly’s father left when she was five and she vowed then to never let anyone break her heart. She had to be independent. Strong-willed, she’s always up for a challenge. Trying to get an autograph from a rock star, she winds up with his security guard Tommy. They end up having a one-night stand. Or at least they’re both under the impression that that’s what it is. But when they separate, Tommy decides he shouldn't have just left and that he wants more. Kelly wants to see him again, but only for revenge for leaving without saying goodbye - that's what she tells herself. Only problem? They don't know last names or anything about each other. Kelly finds Tommy first, gives him another night of wild sex and then leaves before he wakes up. Now it's Tommy's turn. It’s a game of one-upmanship while you watch two people fall in love, and Kelly learns to trust. Ms. Walker’s story is a delightful romp, funny and intensely erotic at the same time. Another great read.

It’s rare that I like both books in an anthology, so this was a surprise. Sasha White and Saskia Walker are both incredibly gifted writers, their styles are uniquely their own, and I highly recommend this book.

Five stars.