>> Friday, January 23, 2004
In my mad rush to read as many 2003 books as possible before voting in the 2003 AAR Reader Awards I grabbed one in a category I have a hole in, series romance. It was Friendly Persuasion (excerpt), by Dawn Atkins, a Harlequin Blaze by a new-to-me author.
Kara Collier just can't separate sex and serious relationships. What she needs is a lesson in sex without promises of forever. And who better to teach her than her commitment-shy--and hot--best friend, Ross Gabriel. Problem is they know too much about each other to actually hit the sheets. Until the night he shows up dressed like a stranger, that is. Soon Kara's enjoying the hottest sex she's ever had ... without a single thought of "I do!"I liked this, both because it had a "friends falling in love" plot and because it felt fresh and the characters felt young. A B.
What started out as a favor for his best friend has suddenly become something much more. Ross doesn't want to admit his feelings for Kara, though--it might mean chaning his freedom-loving way. But when other guys start showing an interest in Kara, Ross can't hide his thoughts anymore. Not he has to persuade Kara that this seductive friendship can go the distance and that his feelings are very real ...
The first parts of the book were mostly taken up by descriptions of the various fantasy scenarios the hero and heroine dream up to have sex. These are quite fun, and more daring than usual (for instance, a pretty in-depth description of the heroine deep-throating the hero and then swallowing. Not precisely kinky, but less vanilla than what you usually get in romance).
I liked how it's made very clear that Cara's experienced, and has done all these "acts" with other guys already. It's better with Ross, but she's no innocent. Interestingly, in a bit of a double standard, I'm not quite as happy about how experienced Ross seems to be.
Later on, however, the book becomes more serious in exploring how suitable to each other these two people really are, and to be honest, the author had me doubting whether they did have a future together. I saw Ross as pretty well-adjusted, and I really don't think that lack of ambition is a character flaw, so I didn't appreciate Kara's attempts to change him. As for Kara, she needed someone with ambition, which isn't a character flaw either, so I simply didn't think she could actually live with someone like Ross without either killing him or herself.
The interesting thing is that at one point I actually thought "Maybe it would be a good ending if they ended apart", which was especially weird because this didn't make me enjoy the book any less. I was just enjoying the story and the fact that I had doubts, that I felt I knew the characters enough that I could
The situation with the secondary storyline, which was very sweet and nice, was similar. But, in both cases, the author managed to fix things and have the dual happy endings work out. Nice.
Before I go, please, "Cara" is Italian, for god's sake! NOT Spanish. Why does every single romance author think it is?? Here I was enjoying the very good Spanish the characters use when bam, "cara". Argh!