As Bad As Can Be, by Kristin Hardy

>> Saturday, February 19, 2005

Kristin Hardy is one of the very, very few authors whose Harlequin Blaze releases I make a point not to miss. As Bad As Can Be (excerpt) is the second in the Under the Covers series. It comes right after Scoring, and it's also related to My Sexiest Mistake.

For Becka's neighbor, Mallory Carson, opening her own bar is a dream come true, and she'll do whatever's necessary to keep it going. Her brother -- and silent partner -- Dev gets nervous when he hears that she's trying outrageous hooks to draw customers into "Bad Reputation," and he sends his buddy, Shay O'Connor, to watch over her.

A local tavern owner, Shay doesn't approve of Mallory's Coyote Ugly approach to attracting a clientele. The more he tells her to clean up her act, the more Mallory gets the urge to show him just how bad she can be.

The only thing hotter than the sparks that fly around when they're together is the passion that sizzles between them.
As Bad As Can Be was a pleasant, if unsubstantial, read. I'd grade it a B-.

The characters were likeable and I liked the plot. I know it's probably clichéd, but I'm always fond of books about a relationship that starts as a fling but soon has the guy wanting more, with the heroine resisting. I liked Mallory, though I thought her "bad girl" thing was a bit self-conscious... it felt a bit immature, like all those heroes in historicals who go around calling themselves "scoundrels" and "rogues". Shay was lovely, so serious and responsible, and I had fun seeing Mallory bring out his well-hidden wilder side.

They did have chemistry and the book had some nice moments, but I never could bring myself to get excited about them. It was a nice read, though, and sometimes that's just fine.


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