by Tierney Linn, contemporary (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-378-3
Romance author Shelby O'Neill relocates to Florida after her divorce, determined to make a fresh start in life. However, she has one problem: she has no idea what to write for her next book. It's not surprising, given what she had gone through back in Boston with her now ex-husband, but she has to get her muse back, what with deadlines and her agent screaming down her neck and all.
Therefore, poor Shelby finds herself in Sweet Inspiration all alone and pressured to write something - anything - on New Year's night when there is a party going on in the house next to hers. However, she perks up considerably when she accidentally spots the neighbor hunk shagging some blonde in front of an open window. Unfortunately, he catches her spying on him and he's now pounding furiously on her front door. Oh no, what is a woman to do in this situation?
The rather over-the-top set-up aside, Sweet Inspiration is a quaint and amusing story of a divorcée getting her groove back with the help of the hunk next door. Shelby is the more well-drawn character here and I adore her. She's determined to move on with life - it's that muse thing that is holding her back - and she has plenty of sass and spirit to boot. I also like that Ms Linn portrays a romance author heroine as someone normal rather than some sex-starved frigid kook who needs psychiatric help like most romance author heroines tend to be. It is Shelby's normalcy that makes this story most adorable. She has a normal figure, she has a normal attitude about sex and men, and therefore she is someone I can easily picture as real.
The football player hunk-next-door Christian LaCroix is more of a one-dimensional stereotype trophy boyfriend and I personally think he's a little bit vacant upstairs. I could do without his silly overreaction in the last few pages but he thankfully calms down quickly and just in time for the happy ending.
Sweet Inspiration is a most charming short story of an unlikely romance. I am completely won over by the most likable heroine. The hero that turns out to be pretty okay, which is good. I don't know what to expect when I first read this, but it turns out that Sweet Inspiration is a sweetest kind of serendipity.
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