Reviewed by May
Favorite Quote: Drinking beer, playing with their balls and pitching tents. Man-camping was just plain classy.
What happens when a Scottish games athlete meets the girl of his dreams in a Jane Austen historical society member who happens to want the same piece of land for her own event on the same day? The battle is on, and the heat is turning up!
When I first read this set up I burst out laughing. Men in kilts and women dressing in Regency England apparel? In a battle of sorts? I really couldn’t stop giggling, and yet, something about the set up made me absolutely have to read the book, immediately. I’m glad I did, it was a lot of fun.
The line of erections bounced joyfully underneath the ballroom lights, the synchronized slapping of cock on balls keeping the beat with alarming precision.
We meet our heroine at a Jane Austen group meeting of sorts – gone a bit astray. Her best friend brought in some strippers who upset the elderly members, and got her punished in the form of arranging everything for their big annual event. Armed with her unpredictable best friend that seems to go everywhere with her, Kate finds the perfect spot that is unfortunately occupied by huge hunky specimens of manhood practicing hammer throws and looking mighty fine doing so.
Julian is practicing extra hard because he wants to earn a sponsorship that will help him support his mother better and stop working winters in the south west on construction sites. His step father initiated him into the world of the SHS (Scottish Highland Society) games, and he wants to continue to honor the (deceased) man’s memory with his involvement in that. He has no time or room for a serious girlfriend in his life, so his strong reaction to the vintage dress loving Kate is most unwelcome. The instant attraction is very mutual.
Kate almost swooned. There was something about a solid pair of forearms, muscles intertwined with ropy veins, flexing and twisting with each twitch of the fingers, that made her want to rub herself all over a man.
I laughed aloud and smiled frequently – something a contemporary novel has not managed to do for me in quite some time. The set up was done so fantastically that I would give a grade of A to the first third of this book. I was drawn in completely, unable to put it down. I could clearly envision these two, their chemistry was fantastic, and the cast of supporting characters especially strong. The writing in this story is fast paced, but filled with memorable moments and quotes.
It was a good word, lounging. It sounded relaxed. Seductive. Like she was Doris Day, sipping cocktails in a silk nightie, waiting for her fluffy pink phone to ring.
I felt that this book needed better structure, a more solid plot. As the pages rolled by I had so many problems with it, and it continued to crack and falter as the novel progressed. What at first I could set aside and just enjoy, by the end I was irritated with and not amused by.
First off, I have never heard of being able to have huge events on land without permits just “first come first serve”. How could they possibly have such events without better planning and with such minimal set up time? How would anyone know where to go? How could you plan on having a major event at a location that anyone could come on in and claim for themselves at any time for any reason? This major plot point continuously bothered me.
Secondly, I could not figure out why Julian couldn’t get involved with a woman. He admits that his involvement and travel with the games is not for profit – he’s lucky to break even. He works winters in construction for high pay to save up for the rest of the year. I’m not putting construction down as a bad job, but it was clear that it was not his interest or passion and he was just dealing with it (and being away from home for months on end) to make a quick buck to support his hobby. He hopes that he can get good enough to get sponsorships and offer his mom more money. Why does he not just get a real job? Find a steady career path instead?
While I appreciated that it was largely about honor and remembering his step father, as a character I found Julian very hard to like or get invested in because of his choices and frequent visits to a-hole town.
My third complaint was the heroine’s “I don’t actually care about this event, but I want to stand up for myself and not back down so I’m going to make an ass of myself” attitude. This was a huge part of the plot – that she was not looking for another site or plan because Julian had been a jerk and insulted her and demanded she back down. It wasn’t a plucky heroine or strong woman move – it was silly and went on far too long.
The initial heat and sparks flying between the two characters was fantastic. One scene where his forearm is touching her thigh had my kindle smoking. Oh my. But where did that smoldering heat go? It was lost in an unbelievable battle over public land, a hero that acted often like a jerk, and a heroine I never could quite figure out. It’s too bad. I think if more attention had been given to the relationship and attraction between these two, instead of throwing up forced conflict between them, it would have been an amazing read.
Thanks to the numerous laugh out loud moments, the men in kilts, awesome supporting characters, and the unique set up I did enjoy most of this book, and I will definitely check out future offerings from this author. While I am not giving this a high grade, I do still recommend if the premise interests you. It was one of the more promising contemporaries I’ve read in a long time, and a whole lot of fun.