Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-019-4
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Ben Hudson has been infatuated with Nora Kirby ever since they were in junior high. Unfortunately, back then his idea of catching her eye was by being a complete prat, and she retaliated by treating him like a thorn in her side. Over the years, they are stuck in this behavior, and Ben has no idea how to do things differently. He’d like to, though, because he’s really crazy about her. When Nora plans to drive down to Ensenada, Mexico, to pick up her sister, he decides to tag along, if only to make sure that she is okay. Would a road trip – which usually can drive a wedge to any loving couple, heh – bring them together and cause love to blossom?
Ensenada Escapade is a fun road trip story, with what I feel to be a near-perfect balance of humor and more serious emotional moments. The author kicks out of the starting line strong when she creates a very realistic kind of dynamics between Ben and Nora. It is believable that two people would be so stuck in a behavioral rut that they eventually have no clue how to do things any different, and it is most entertaining to see how each character’s opinion of the other changes as the story progresses. The chemistry is great, and the characters feel real and are likable. No too-dumb antics here, too – well, maybe aside from the heroine’s belief that driving all that distance immediately after a long shift at the hospital is a good idea – just plenty of amusing antics that show everyone how love can make silly fools out of everyone.
And Ben can be really adorable as that supportive boyfriend that, at the same time, still has enough naughtiness in his personality to keep him from being too bland of a beau.
Just a warning, though – this story takes awhile to get going, mostly because the first few chapters are basically a roll call of what seems like characters from previous related books. I came into this series late (I’ve only read the last book prior to this one), so for a while I feel myself getting impatient for the party to start, Once when the gears are turning, so to speak, the story takes to the high roads and never falters all the way to the last page.
For a romantic and sexy escapade, this one definitely takes me to wonderful places.