Reviewed: September 17, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A ~ (Non-Series / Stand-Alone)
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 248 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Sophie Delphino may be young and sexually inexperienced, but after spending so much of her life taking care of infirm parents, stepping in for her sister as a possible birth surrogate, then again when her sister's high risk pregnancy forced her to step down as the manager of the health club that she and Sophie co-own, she's more than experienced in doing what needs to be done with no complaint. In fact, Sophie has a history of sacrificing for others. When it comes to David Strong, however, Sophie refuses to sacrifice. She focuses her considerable will and irrepressible personality on David, the star of her sexual fantasies for a decade, and when the fantasy of David becomes the reality of a good man, she realizes that only by being true to her own needs will they have a chance for happiness together.
A spunky, determined heroine and a flawed, slightly damaged but generous hero are the prime components of this charming and fun contemporary romance. Bayley-Burke has created two characters who complement each other in and out of the bedroom, and with a smooth narrative and witty dialog ripe with playful banter, offers up a touching and triumphant romance.
I wasn't totally sold with lady's man David at first, whose rigid dating rules and lifetime goals and plans seemed a little too shallow and pretentious for my tastes, but as his true character was revealed and his past uncovered, he becomes more and more sympathetic a character and more endearing for it. Sophie, on the other hand, started out as endearing and became a strong, independent character with her wide-eyed enthusiasm, her honesty, and her selflessness. She was under-appreciated by her family for her repeated sacrifices, and I wasn't at all fond of her sister or brother-in-law because of it, but it was so refreshing to have a female lead in a contemporary romance that I liked at all, let alone one I liked as much as I did Sophie. It's been awhile since I could make that claim.
I had a couple of issues with the story, but no real problems, and most of those issues are preference-based. I would've truly enjoyed Sophie's brother-in-law getting a bit of a comeuppance for his casual disregard of all the ways Sophie has assisted him and her sister over the years - almost every aspect of his life had her helping hands on it and his sense of entitlement and ambivalence about her sacrifices seemed disrespectful and a little reprehensible - especially as he's taken credit at work for things she's done. I wish there had been a moment where David and he went toe to toe on that and called him on it in a more detailed fashion than the one scene that sort of brushed over some of that.
I thought there were some transitional issues at a couple of points in the plot, where the story went a bit too quickly from lighthearted romp in tone to far more serious in nature then back again, with things such as embezzlement, robbery, and vasectomies interspersed with humor and sizzling sexuality. I enjoyed both aspects of the plot, and definitely appreciated how much of David's character was explained as the story progressed within the parameters of so many points of that plot, but the transitions seemed a little abrupt for my tastes at times.
There just isn't much else I felt critical of in this delightful romance. It's definitely one of the most entertaining contemporary romances I've read lately, and I want to give special kudos to Bayley-Burke for one of the most romantic and emotional conclusions I've read in a good long while. I felt for these characters, and always appreciate an author who can engage my emotions for their characters. I'll definitely be checking out more titles by Bayley-Burke and look forward to reading more of her work.
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