Reviewed: June 23, 2010
Genre: Light/Comedic Romantic Suspense
Series: N/A (Non-Series)
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 320 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
Shala Winters was hired by the mayor of the small town of Precious, Texas to create and launch a PR campaign to draw some tourism to his struggling town, but there's no way she would've guessed that there was so little precious about Precious. Within the first twenty-four hours of being within the town's limits, Shala has had her lunch stolen and her leg amorously assaulted by a stray dog, her expensive camera stolen right out of her hands, been followed by a strange vehicle, had a whole town stonewall her, been accused of breaking the rules of a Native American ceremony, forced to dance disco in a disreputable establishment with a lecherous bar owner, pushed into a contentious disagreement with the sheriff of the town...who was the one who stole her camera and refused to give it back to her, almost assaulted by a man carrying a gun, cut her hand badly enough to need stitches, and was forced to go to a hospital, a place that had given her panic attacks since having watched her parents die in one when she was eight years old.
Shala is not having a good day.
Neither is the sheriff of the town, Sky Gomez. Everyone in town knows that his foster father had a spirit dream that pegged Shala as his soul mate even before she reached town, so Sky did what any dedicated bachelor who doesn't believe in love (let alone soul mates) would do (no matter how sexy Shala is). He avoided her like the plague. Sure, he followed her around town...no, not stalking...to keep an eye on her...that's really not stalking...because half the town was quite vocal about not wanting her there...so that definitely means it's not stalking! Then she gets eyeball to groin with him during a powwow and seems pretty enthusiastic about it with that camera of hers. That's against all sorts of his rules. So he confiscated it. Then the entire town starts calling his house to let him know that Blue Eyes is looking for both him and her camera before the spitfire herself shows up on his porch in all her gorgeous...if blathering...glory. Then his foster father is attacked during a break in at the lodge and his own house is almost broken into while he's at the hospital with him. And for some reason, Blue Eyes' camera seems to be the motivation behind all of it. Whatever Shala took a picture of has targeted her for danger and the assaults and danger keep coming. Sky's determined to keep the sexy woman safe and Shala just wants to leave. That's unacceptable to Sky and not just because he's the one who wanted her there to save the town.
With a fast and funny plot that provides a seemingly endless sequence of increasingly threatening events that include some not so funny situations, like a good friend being shot and almost killed and a man murdered, Shut Up and Kiss Me rockets out of the gate and doesn't slow down until the last page turns. The searing heat of a Texas summer pales in comparison to the fiery chemistry that sparks between the prickly and strong willed Shala and the protective and steady Sky. This particular unstoppable force and immovable object relationship provides a surprisingly wide variety of meaty exchanges that are at times sweet and other times sexy as hell as they start to fall for one another.
Around them, relationships of all sorts are also put to the test as the miles between an estranged father and son need to be breached and hearts have to be won for more than one couple. I have to admit, there's a lot that goes on in Shut Up and Kiss Me, and I really enjoyed all of it. I loved Sky and Shala and their relationship as it developed, but I wasn't as happy with the plot threads of his foster father's romance problems or those of Sky's foster sister. I didn't mind them for what they were, exactly, and they certainly added depth to the story as it was happening...not to mention I don't think I've ever read a character be as helplessly beat up as Jose was throughout this book, poor guy...but the resolution of all of those other issues felt, to me, to be a distraction to the conclusion of the suspenseful part of this story and a detriment to the romantic conclusion between Sky and Shala.
Still, the narrative is a fast, flowing, and surprisingly complex piece of work and the plot was built and developed with a lot of meat on its bones, not to mention a lot of really funny moments that made me laugh out loud (sorry, Jose, but mostly at your expense), and the relationship between Sky and Shala was sweet, at times endearingly bumbling, and sexy. I was surprised, actually, that the conclusion to the suspense was as dark as it was, given the tone of the rest of the book, and while I don't think it blended so well, it didn't detract from this charming and fun read.
Shut Up and Kiss Me was my first experience with Christie Craig's books but I can guarantee it won't be my last. This was a solid (if lighter than some) romantic suspense read that had many more comedic moments than I was anticipating. Very nice.
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