Decent Exposure, by Phillippa Ashley

>> Sunday, May 27, 2012

TITLE: Decent Exposure (aka Dating Mr. December, in the US)
AUTHOR: Phillippa Ashley

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 277
PUBLISHER: Little Black Dress

SETTING: Contemporary England (Lake District)
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: None

When a nice girl asks twelve men to get naked, is it decent exposure or indecent exploitation?

Emma Tremayne has left her high-powered PR job and moved to the Lake District. She was expecting to find some much-needed peace and quiet, not to end up cavorting on a hillside with a naked guy. Emma thinks she's being community-minded when she agrees to help the local mountain rescue team put together a 'tasteful' nude calendar in order to fundraise for their new headquarters. Unfortunately, quite a lot of the community seems to mind what she's up to. Including the extremely handsome Mr July, Will, who appears to have got completely the wrong impression about Emma's intentions. So how does she convince him that he's more than just Flavour of the Month...?
Emma Tremayne used to have a high-flying career in PR. She had it all, the entertainment budget, the cool London lifestyle, the powerful boyfriend. But then it all blew up. Hurting from the disaster, Emma moves to a small town in the Lake District to take up a much lower-profile job at the local tourist board. As we meet her at the beginning of the book, she's started to settle down and is building a new life.

One of the things she's doing in her free time, to become part of the community, is helping the local mountain rescue team do some fundraising for a new base. Her idea? A naked calendar. It's a tough sell, but she wins everyone over. Except, that is, for Will Tennant, one of the volunteers. Will, who's a successful businessman in civilian life, is not amused. He's offered to pay for the entire base himself, and not only wasn't his offer accepted, he now needs to show his naked bits to the world to help get the money. And so the scene is set...

As I started reading, I quite liked this. It was cute and sweet, but in a good way, in a sort of warm, nice way. I really liked Emma, who was quite clearly still a bit vulnerable from having everything she'd been working towards for years collapse completely, but was showing some very real guts trying to adapt to a new place and new people. I also liked Will, who was endearingly smitten with Emma. I had loads of fun reading his point of view, as he's not this all-confident alpha male. He's determined to get a date with Emma, but has doubts when he approaches her.

But then the back and forth started, and it all turned into a horrid mess. Emma and Will's relationship (which is basically all that's going on in the entire book, as the calendar thingie is soon done and out of the way) is one of the most frustrating I've read in ages. Emma is just determined to assume the worst about Will, for no real good reason. Someone tells her some unflattering rumours about Will and how he treated his former fiancee, and she just believes them without question. And then Will behaves just as frustratingly, refusing to tell her the real story, again, for no good reason. And then it all happens again, exactly the same, but over this old house that Will wants to buy. Emma jumps to the conclusion that he wants to turn it into luxury flats (and she goes all "why do you need to make more money!!", which came out of nowhere, since at the same time she's pining for her high-powered London career). Will refuses to explain. And on, and on, and on. xArghhh!!!

Anyway, I ended up fighting the urge to skim.

MY GRADE: A C-.

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