Talking dirty as a phone sex operator isn’t what straight laced school psychologist East Winters had in mind as a portable counseling job. But after being budget-cut out of employment, she needs the cash to get out of town fast and hitchhike to Maine for her dream job working at a school with a bigger pocketbook and no knowledge of her family’s nasty history.
Ex history teacher Ansel Andersson resents his boss tacking on a team driver at the last minute for his first cross-country delivery. Sure, she’s a sexy redhead that gets him hot and bothered, but he had other plans. Historical sites. Greasy food. Avoiding his PTSD issues from surviving a shooting. Oh that–he’d rather not think about it.
You know what? Maybe this clean, proper psychologist is exactly the perfect distraction. If he could only get her to stop running off blushing into her phone, he’d teach her all kinds of filthy things.
This blurb got me with the phone sex operator heroine and grumpy hero with PTSD. Not that I am making light of PTSD, because I am not, but I do love a tortured hero so I was interested to see how this story would play out. I have to say, I was a little let down.
Downsized at work due to budget issues and trying to get away from a bad boyfriend and start anew, East wants needs to get to Maine for this dream job. Ansel is a grumpy teacher turned truck driver and takes a cross-country job. After her car breaks down East ends up hitching a ride cross-country with Ansel. He is not happy. Forced proximity tropeiness ensues.
This book is tagged humor and romantic comedy on Amazon and while it had several bits of that, it also had a heaviness too that felt awkward at times. My kindle gave me a reading time of 5 hours and those 5 hours felt like 10. It felt clunky and lacking transitions and I had to go back and re-read things a lot to figure out where I was. I think the dialogue was supposed to feel zippy and zinging, but sometimes things got left out so the impact was not quite there. Also, PTSD is never funny, it is very serious and it is treated as such in the book. So the tags on Amazon feel a little misguided. While researching the author, I saw that she studied psychology, so East’s help with Ansel’s PTSD and anxiety felt incredibly authentic and because it was so authentic, it felt a little much at times. Like perhaps it got bogged down a tiny bit too much with the realness of it.
East picks up a job as a phone sex operator to make some cash while she is trying to get this new job. It’s awkward and felt a little misplaced and I spent a lot of time thinking about if phone sex toll calls still exist (they do, I just Googled it.) East is pretty apathetic about the job and isn’t very good at it and conveniently ends up counseling many of her callers. I really wanted it to be something that she embraced and not something that she was ashamed of.
There were definitely some zingers in the book that got me giggling.
East describing Zoey, sister-cousin-
Zoey had some sort of magic vagina like a venus flytrap for penises. A penis flytrap.
Ansel’s internal dialogue thinking about East-
What he’d do if she was attacked, he didn’t know. Maybe run after the assailant, using the massive power of his one usable fist and his hard-on for good measure to beat on the guy.
They have decent chemistry and the sexy times when they get to it is pretty good. It is a moderately slow build and it pays off well for them. Ansel is struggling with impotency after the shooting and of course that is resolved pretty quickly. I would have liked to have seen that be dealt with a little bit more.
The secondary characters were intriguing, but did not take over the story. Zoey, East’s sister-cousin, was serving as a surrogate mother and was close to her due date. Ansel’s BFF Jason seems to be harboring a thing for the first guy he kissed back in high school. I would be moderately interested in seeing either of their stories.
This was an okay read for me. I did feel a huge connection with the main characters. There were a few oddities that I can’t let go of- like Ansel had a fairly severe burn on his right hand yet this did not impede his driving. There was a completely unbelievable thing at the end that felt so forced and idealistic that I was surprised unicorns didn’t show up. I did feel the author handled Ansel’s PTSD was with a lot of care and I really appreciated that but something else that I just can’t define was missing for me in this book.