by Cassidy Kent, contemporary (2006)
Amber Quill Press, $5.00, ISBN 1-59279-628-1
I'm sure you have come across this story before: a heroine needs a break after working too hard and goes off to an isolated cabin only to realize that there is already someone else there, an author who needs a muse to recharge those batteries. No, the author is not Cassidy Kent but our hero Nicholas Rhiordan who writes bestselling mystery novels. Oh, and he's British. Altogether now, people: They always are. Our heroine is Hayley Barrett who decides to take a break by heading off to some ski and snow fun with her friend Eden.
On the bright side, at least Hayley doesn't discover Nicholas when he's just coming out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. On the other hand, Hayley starts acting like a petulant child when she meets Nicholas, pulls a stunt that ends up with her getting a chill, and ends up forcing Nicholas to take her in. Naturally her childish antics appeal to him because they make him laugh like nobody else has done just as her looks make him get the antsy-pants like not many women have done recently. There are some contrived scenes to get them in the state of undress in each other's company. The usual, really.
Even when Nicholas says that he's looking for someone to move beyond vanilla sex with, the love scenes here don't come off as particularly strawberry, chocolate, or any non-vanilla flavored to me. I'm expecting some bondage scenes especially when it comes to clever improvisations with the equipment they have in the cabin, like maybe Nicholas will whack Hayley's bare behind repeatedly with a snowboard for being a brat and put a ski pole to good use, but alas, the sex is pretty conventional. It's as if "vanilla" is an euphemism for "not that explicit" in this instance. I like the line about Nicholas "shooting like a pistol" though. I'm sure you know how a pistol works. Bang! - click - Bang! - click - Bang! I find myself laughing at the image that pops in my head, I tell you.
On the bright side, while the story doesn't fully deliver in the sexy department, at least the author has the two characters talking and bonding pretty convincingly when they are not having vanilla sex. However, a silly misunderstanding towards the end pretty much blows any credible relationship building that the two have up to that point.
As a result, What Lies In Winter doesn't really do it for me. It's a familiar story with familiar plot elements and the sex scenes aren't inventive enough to make up for the tedium of reading such a familiar storyline being rehashed in such a generic and unremarkable manner.
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