Saturday, January 12, 2008

Strong and Sexy

by Jill Shalvis

Strong and Sexy once again demonstrates the wit, charm, romance and adventure that has become a Jill Shalvis trademark. There were many times when I broke out in laughter as Ms. Shalvis’ characters traded barbs, stumbled over their own feet and klutzily attempted to maneuver down the road to love; bit my lip as they dodged bullets; and sighed with pleasure with each kiss, touch, look. With consummate skill she weaves a tale that will surely please even her harshest critics. As always, her characters are extraordinarily crafted, their personalities fairly leaping off the page. This goes for the supporting, or background, characters as well. Each one has their own voice, characteristic and unique contribution to the story.
As in the previous book, Smart and Sexy, we return to Sky High Air and it’s owners, Noah, Brody and Shayne, three men who grew up together, bucking the system with each step of the way. Also back is their resourceful concierge Maddie, still hiding her attraction to Brody – but that’s for a third book. This one belongs to Shayne Mahoney, the bad-boy with a trust fund who would never conform to his parents’ expectations. The black sheep of the family, Shayne has used his connections to bring clients to the fledgling business, and after a year they are finally out of the red. But the same cannot be said for his love-life. Lately he has been the dumpee instead of the dumper and he’s beginning to think he’s lost his touch. Enter Dani Peterson, the complete opposite of everything Shayne looks for in a woman, but this awkward concoction of womanly curves and wide-eyed wonder pulls at him nevertheless. When he finds out that she’s the “crazy” daughter of an important client, he vows to back off only to be pulled reluctantly back in, time after time.
Dani has always strived for independence from her mother and her money. For that, Sandra Peterson has always referred to Dani as her crazy daughter. But Dani doesn’t care, as long as she is left alone to live her own life and devote her time to her zoo animals. Well, maybe not left alone entirely, as her lack of a love life stinks. Attending her mother’s party, thrown by Sky High Air, is the last thing she wants to do, but she pulls herself together and gathers her courage. Not that it helps much, as it clearly becomes evident that she’s a fish out of water, drowning in a sea of snobbery. And as if breaking a heel, having a drink dumped on her, and making out with a gorgeous guy in a closet weren’t enough, there’s the thing about the murder she witnesses, the murder with no dead body that has Mr. Gorgeous, Shayne, looking at her as if she’s the loony her mother has made her out to be.
When Dani becomes the target, Shayne finds himself in the role of protector, a position that becomes increasingly difficult as the danger escalates and his attraction to Dani becomes stronger. It was a delight to watch these two fall in love, the sexy banter and even sexier love scenes fulfilling everything that a romance is about. Five stars for this one.
Barnes and Noble