Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Last Guy She Should Call, or A Masterclass in How To Pull Off Starkly-Contrasting Characters

She’d got his number… 
For savvy antiques dealer Rowan Dunn life is good – until a passport error gets her deported back to South Africa! Stranded at the airport, Rowan can only remember two phone numbers: her parents’ (definitely not an option!) and her best friend’s brother’s. As much as she hates it, Rowan knows she has no choice. It’s time to call Seb Hollis and ask for help… 
Seb is even sexier than Rowan remembers – and just as infuriating! He’s always pushed her buttons, but at least now she knows how to push them back. Maybe it’s time to start sleeping with the enemy – even though Rowan’s sure there won’t be a whole lot of sleeping going on…!

The best friend’s brother is a trope that has been done over and over again in romance novels – and there’s a reason for this.  Everyone knows that there are aspects of their childhood that they’d rather leave behind them – whether that’s their particularly bad hair (I still have nightmare’s about how untameable my hair used to be, back in the day) or a specific humiliating moment that defined who they are – and when you’re faced with a hero who knows all of that, wow it can be powerful.

If written well.

And boy can Joss Wood write.  Rowan and Seb clash instantaneously, part-childhood enmity and part-misunderstanding, but at no point do either of them become stereotypes.

In Rowan, you have a strong independent nomad, used to travelling the world and doing what she wants and loves all the time, but usually not what we expect.  And then there’s Seb.  Tall and dark and handsome, he pretty much smoulders his way off the page and into your heart. 

I think what’s best about this novel, is that it highlights that two people who are very very different, can still make a go of it.  Without spoiling the ending (which is so damn good), these two very different, very individual people, stay true to themselves as well as making a go of it with each other.

Plus there’s the sex.  Wood’s sex scenes always seem organic, with men and women interchangeably strong.  Also, reading this book straight after one that made me fume over the way that it dressed up sexual harassment as romance (it’s remaining unnamed – I don’t like slagging books off), it proved how you can have a dominant partner in the bedroom without him being too pushy.

It’s rare that you find characters in a book who are so starkly different in the way they live their lives, and it’s so good to see it proven that it can work without anyone compromising themselves.

Oh yeah, and when Mills & Boon boy Neil opened this, it fell straight to a certain scene containing a peach…

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