Formats available: Trade paperback, ebook
Genre: Contemporary romance
Length: 314 pages
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Date Released: November 25, 2012
Purchasing Info:Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.
Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.
Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…
In her third novel, Alice Clayton returns to dish her trademark mix of silly and steamy. Banter, barbs, and strutting pussycats, plus the sexiest apple pie ever made, are dunked in a hot tub and set against the gorgeous San Francisco skyline in this hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight.
Caroline has great friends, a fantastic job, a terrific boss, and a truly lousy sex life. Not because she can’t find a guy (or girl, for that matter). Her lack of options isn’t the point.
It’s her lack of orgasms. Self-love isn’t even doing the job. (Insert joke about not being able to find it with both hands and a map. This is the sort of story where that joke even fits) It may not help that Caroline speaks about her orgasms in the third person. And not just to herself, but to her friends. I’m not sure I’d want to be a party to that conversation with anyone. Ever.
Caroline’s new neighbor is giving plenty of women plenty of orgasms. Caroline is damn sure of it, because she can hear every moan and scream. And meow. His headboard banging exploits keep Caroline awake at night.
Not just with the noise, but with envy, and a side-helping of annoyance. When she can’t stand it anymore, she runs across the hall to bang on his door in the middle of the night. Interrupting his night for a change. One good bang deserves another. The pink nightie she’s wearing doesn’t do much for her dignity. Especially since she can’t keep from staring at the sheet he’s almost wearing.
In spite of the fact that they drive each other crazy, they keep running into each other. Not just because they live in the same building, but because their friends are all tied up with each other. Her boss is married to his best friend. Her BFFs are dating his BFFs. They keep getting “coupled up” together as the only two singles.
And they don’t resist. They are having too much fun becoming friends. Not friends with benefits, just plain friends. Whatever sparks they feel, and there are tons of sparks, they each think friendship is best.
Simon is a photojournalist, and travels for work. He’s away more than he’s home. Experience has taught him it’s death on relationships. Caroline’s missing O has been absent so long that friendship seems safer.
But as they steer their friends toward more, they can’t help but wonder if it might be worth exploring what they might have together. Little do they know that someone has been steering them towards each other all along.
Escape Rating B+: This was lots of fun! It was great to see a romance that took its time with the building of the relationship, with the “chase”. It was cute to watch these two navigate from their rocky and wacky start towards something solid and new.
Caroline’s friends are terrific. Everyone should have friends like hers.
I did find Caroline’s inner dialog with her body parts and her third-person references to her missing orgasms slightly off-putting, but YMMV.
The banter between Simon and Caroline was great fun. These are two smart people trying to out-smart each other and taking the readers along for the ride. The way the relationship goes from cautious friendship to bantering friendship to love reminds me of Kate Beckett and Rick Castle on Castle.