Naughty But Nice, by Jill Shalvis

>> Friday, March 07, 2003

I tried a Harlequin Blaze next, Naughty But Nice (excerpt), by Jill Shalvis. This one gets a B from me, and so fares better than the only other Shalvis I've read, Her Perfect Stranger.

Cassie Tremaine Montgomery: The stunning lingerie model with a tough-as-nails attitude and a sheriff in her sights.

Sean "Tag" Taggart: The sexy-as-sin sheriff who is more than willing to play Cassie's game...his way.

Cassie intends to use all the seductive powers she has to entice Tag as part of her revenge on her hometown. Tag, however, isn't cooperating. He's more than willing to set the sheets on fire with her, but he's asking for more than just sizzling sex.... He knows she's not as tough as she pretends. And he knows she cares about him — even if she won't admit it. That's fine. He'll just turn up the heat until she concedes there's more between them than this red-hot passion.

My most frequent problem with Blaze books is that so many of them have lame, gimmicky, "only-in-romance-novels" setups. The one here (opening a sexy lingerie shop in town to get revenge on it) sounds idiotic, but it was more believable than I thought it would be. The characters were also nicer than I imagined. Tag, especially, was adorable, and I just love it when the story is that the man wants more and it's the woman who is reluctant (and not too stupid or stubborn about it). There was mybe a bit too much emphasis on one having power over the other, but the love scenes of both trying were hot and lots of fun.

The story conentrated mainly on their relationship and Cassie coming to terms with the town (that was something I liked, it didn't feel like that "small town good, big town evil" crap so many romance novels espouse. It's simply that Cassie realizes it wasn't that everyone despised her, but that she thought they did, so she never noticed that some people were ok.). All this took up most of the book, shoving the shop and the stalker firmly to the background.

As a final note, I thought it was great that the author didn't feel Tag had to come to terms with his jerk of a father, just because he was his father. I hate it when that happens.

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