Cruise Control, by Sarah Mayberry

>> Friday, September 10, 2010

TITLE: Cruise Control
AUTHOR: Sarah Mayberry

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 256
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Blaze

SETTING: Contemporary Australia
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: None

REASON FOR READING: I wanted something short and nice to read while I was sitting in the park

What good is a second chance if you don't take a risk?

That's what limo driver Anna Jackson asks when the seriously hot Marc Lewis climbs in her car. She's changed her looks, her career and now it's time to shed the conservative habits of a lifetime. And seducing Marc is the best way to do that. Sure, he's her client--sort of off-limits--but she's not wrong about the invitation in his eyes.

All she has to do is remember three simple rules--never stay overnight, make no plans for the future and never, ever talk about emotions. Once they hit the sheets, however, the rules aren't so easy to follow. And once they spend the night, can feelings be far behind?
Mayberry is fast becoming one of my go-to authors when I want a quick, sexy read. Cruise Control was the perfect book to read while sitting in the park, enjoying one of the last sunny days of the vanishing Northern English summer!

The plot is one of those Blaze staples: the no-strings affair that turns into something more. Anna Jackson is in the process of changing her life completely after surviving breast cancer. She's made some big changes already, from changing her look from classic and restrained to bold and sexy, to abandoning her law career for one as a limo driver. However, there are still plenty of things on the list she drew up in hospital when still wondering whether she would survive the cancer.

One of those things is getting some passion in her life. And the perfect opportunity presents itself when businessman Marc Lewis gets in the back seat of her car. Anna hesitates at first, but the chemistry between them is too explosive to resist for long, and in no time at all, they're involved in a hot and heavy affair. Both of them tell themselves it's nothing but sex -Anna even has rules to make sure feelings don't get involved-, but sure enough, feelings soon enter the equation.

I really, really enjoyed this, mostly because of the characters. Anna and Marc both come alive, with very distinct personalities and issues. Sometimes with this plot the tension feels a bit fake, because there's no real reason why the affair should be kept sex-only when both people involved start wanting something else. With Anna and Marc, Mayberry made me believe that there was.

Anna, like many cancer survivors, is quietly convinced that it will come back and kill her before too long. After all, that's what happened with her mother. And seeing the effect that had on her father, Anna doesn't want to put a partner of her own through that. So for her, keeping some distance between herself and Marc is essential.

Marc is also dealing with some issues of his own, arising from his divorce. These get solved in a way I really liked, and so he's the one who's then willing to go for the relationship, and has to convince Anna, all the while not knowing why it is that she's so set against it.

This, however, was the point where the book kind of fell down for me, because the ending was seriously rushed. I wanted to be there when Marc found out what Anna had been hiding from him, but I didn't get that. He finds out off-page, and then it's just "Anna, it doesn't matter". And Anna, for whom, it had been made very clear, this was a huge issue, just goes "oh, ok". There's also a really interesting secondary storyline about Anna's brother Danny, and that was pretty rushed, too. Not as badly as the main story, but I wanted more.

I think Mayberry may just have ran out of pages, which is a shame. I still enjoyed the book quite a bit, though.

MY GRADE: A B.

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