Reviewed by: Helyce
Davis is a regular patron of McGreevy’s bar. After work, he sits at the bar, on “his” stool and focuses on CNN while he drinks his Sam Adams beer. Sometimes he’s alone and sometimes his buddy Vince joins him. As for female company, Davis definitely has a type–petite and blonde and lucky for Davis, there’s a steady stream through the bar. But, it’s the redhead behind the bar that has really captured his attention. There is just something about Grace that calls to him…but he just won’t let himself go there….
Grace has been working at McGreevy’s for a while and she can’t deny that Davis is handsome and sexy. They exchange witty banter and barbs over the bar, and anyone observing them might think they really dislike each other. But that is not the case at all, they don’t really know each other. Grace has had to watch, though, as Davis goes home with blonde after blonde, and she can’t help but wonder why?
One evening, Grace just can’t stop herself and she gets in Davis’s face about the blondes only dating that Davis seems to favor–and before she can stop herself, she has somehow bet Davis to date a non-blonde and he chooses her!
Arm Candy picks up pretty much where book one, Eye Candy, left off. Davis has a very predictable routine. He wakes, dresses and works as a stock analyst from his home. He is very successful. He starts when the market opens, and finishes his day when it closes. He works out, has poker nights with friends, and often can be found enjoying a beer at McGreevy’s Bar. He dates, but doesn’t get serious, making it clear from the get go that he’s not looking for more.
It’s inferred in book one that something happened in Davis’s past involving a redhead. It’s played up to be a serious issue, but we get no details other than the topic, for Davis, is off limits. I had begun spinning tales in my head about what could have happened. I imagined the worse, of course, seeing as Davis would completely shut down whenever the subject arose, or the woman’s name was mentioned. I have to say that I was quite disappointed by the reveal of what actually happened. And while I can surely understand Davis’s feelings, the incident was more one of humiliation and embarrassment for Davis. After six years, one would think he’d at least be somewhat recovered; but that is not the case. He continues to dwell on the event year after year.
Until he meets Grace and she throws down the challenge of dating a non blonde woman. This presents a perfect opportunity for Davis to explore his attraction to Grace, with no commitment. I saw this as him moving forward, taking that first step at leaving the past behind and dating a woman he was really attracted to who could make a difference in his life. Grace was nothing like the stepford-like blondes he’d been passing the time with. Grace had substance, intelligence, a great personality, and I liked her–alot.
Grace, also has some baggage from her past as well. She has trouble with commitment; so when Davis explains about his “packages”, a system he used to make sure his intimate encounters stayed in a nice little box and so that these women he dated knew right off the bat that there would be a definite end date, Grace is in. Of course, Grace is amused by his pronouncement, but it keeps things in perspective for her while providing some humor within the story.
What neither could have predicted, though, is the exquisite connection they had when they were together. Not just sexually though, they just fit into each other’s lives like they were meant for each other. And their physical connection was off the charts. Ms. Lemmon’s prose manages to make the reader literally feel this connection between Davis and Grace. So much so, that I was caught totally off guard when Grace panics and forces the 3-dates-only rule.
I was not happy at this turn of events. I would have been perfectly fine if they went on to realize they were in love without any introduction of conflict. I really felt it was unnecessary at this juncture. Does conflict always have to be part of the story? In this particular case it felt forced and everyone was completely miserable. I don’t feel that you have to hit this kind of rock bottom in order to have a revelation that you’ve made a mistake and are actually in love. Grace’s actions devastate Davis and worse she did this to him knowing his past! But this is a romance, and thankfully their separation is short lived.
I have enjoyed all my Jessica Lemmon reads since I found her, but I think this series is feeling a bit formulaic to me. While I did enjoy the previous book, she used a theme that was quite similar to another book I’d read, but the characters and writing pulled me through. I feel that way about this book as well, a story similar to others I’ve read. Davis and Grace are both strong characters that come to life on the page. Their romance truly comes through in Lemmon’s words. Though conflict is nearly always part of a romance, I didn’t like it here especially under the circumstances of Davis’s past.
So this one was good, but not what I’ve come to expect from Ms. Lemmon’s books. While the writing is still strong and the characters interesting and appealing to me, the fact that the theme was so similar to a few books I’ve read without anything big distinguishing itself, took away from the story a bit for me. I would still recommend for anyone looking for a light, uncomplicated romance that comes with a happy ending!