Dirty Sexy Knitting
by Christie Ridgway, contemporary (2009)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0425228290

If the title Dirty Sexy Knitting leads you to believe that the hero Gabe Kincaid and heroine Cassandra Riley are going to spend their time rolling around on yarns of knitted fabric while using knitting needles on each other's body in various obscenely creative ways, you are going to be most disappointed. Still, there are some pretty explicit love scenes here to enjoy, if you can overlook the abundance of contemporary romance clichés present in this story.

Also, I strongly recommend that you read the previous two books in the author's Malibu & Ewe series first before you tackle this one because the two main characters already have a pre-established relationship here. If you are not privy to their back story, you may find the story here full of unanswered questions and therefore not too interesting to follow.

Anyway, we have Gabe. He's the mysterious fellow who owns most of the properties around this patch of the Pacific Coast Highway where the series is set in. He spends his time drinking heavily and waking up with no memories of what he did during his drunken binges. It's a Dead Wife and Dead Kid thing - you have heard that song on a country station before, I'm sure. At any rate, he manages to keep a solid tight six-pack despite his constant drinking, and not only that, he gets to kiss women the first thing in the morning after his nightly drinking hole melodramas without that woman going, "Eeeuw!" at his breath. It's great to be a romance hero - you can drink all you want without your physique degenerating, your breath never stinks, and when you fall in love, your alcoholism magically vanishes.

Cass, our heroine, is a celibate woman looking desperately for a family of her own. Her mother is a feminist sort, and you know how feminists are in romance novels: Cass's mother is a selfish hag who opts for artificial insemination instead of having a child the good old-fashioned "womanly" way, and now Cass decides that she'd have sex with a man only in a "serious" manner, unlike her mother who... er... you know what, I still don't understand what Cass is thinking here. Let's just say that she uses her mother as an excuse to have neurotic ideas about sex, men, and family. I'm sure you have come across heroines like her before.

It's hard to describe the plot because there isn't really much of one here. Basically, Cass and Gabe continue their pattern of enabling each other at first. He gets drunk, she picks him up and takes him home, he comes on to her, repeat and rinse. Cass eventually decides that enough is enough and she wants to stop enabling the man she harbors a crush on. Gabe gets the idea that she is retreating from him because they must have somehow had sex during one of the episodes where she picked him home. He can't remember anything that happens when he's drunk, but they must have had sex. Why else would she start acting all cold and strange toward him, right? Gabe decides to make amends and even take their friendship to a more intimate level. His actions, amusingly, only serve to frustrates her because she wants to make a clean break from him.

Meanwhile, there are some minor drama about Cass wanting to reconnect with her sperm donor daddy and how someone is trying to kill her, but these subplots take a backseat to the relationship between Gabe and Cass. There is a secondary romance between a former villain and a man she thought was lost to her, but again, this one may resonate better with you if you have read at the very least the previous book in this series.

Dirty Sexy Knitting is a pleasant if unremarkable read. The characters are familiar and they display too many clichéd traits for me to take them seriously as characters in their own right. Gabe is Sad Emo Guy #122 and Cass is SWF Desperately Seeking Family And A Happy Orgasm #318. Things go the way they should, the characters play their part, and everything falls into place just like I expect them to. In other words, there is a scripted routine quality to this story. That doesn't mean this book is unreadable, of course. Instead, it inspires only a tepid reaction from me.

Rating: 77

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