Grand Central Publishing, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-446-57155-5
Contemporary Erotica, 2011
I can’t say that author Lilli Feisty didn’t warn me. The prologue has our heroine Phoebe Mayle about to die or something because she decided to drive in a truly terrible thunderstorm to get some quail eggs and her vehicle smashed into a fallen tree. She berates herself in that chapter for being too stupid for words. And like a fool, I decided to keep reading, because I told myself rather naïvely, surely things can’t be that bad. Maybe Phoebe needs to get those quail eggs because an irate diner at Phoebe’s restaurant had taken her sister hostage and would shoot the poor young lady if Phoebe didn’t serve quail eggs soon.
I couldn’t be any more wrong. On the surface, this is the story of Phoebe, who upon inheriting the family restaurant, tries to keep it afloat, despite having no head for running, it by hiring some fancy out-of-work chef from LA to do the cooking. Nick Avalon could have been the next big celebrity chef, but because he couldn’t keep his pants zipped, he ended up sleeping with the wrong woman. As a result, his career is temporarily on hiatus, to put it nicely, and he can’t wait to do his thing in this podunk restaurant and get back to LA. Before long, though, his leering and pawing of Phoebe soon leads to sizzling sex that has him feeling that perhaps he does belong in podunk territory, after all.
I don’t like Nick – he comes off more like a sleazy used car salesman type than anything else, and the author relies on the tried and true method of bashing me in the head with his sad blue past to make him come off as sympathetic. He’s actually a very convincing bad boy – I suspect that I can never warm up to him because the heroine can’t really stand up to him and therefore doesn’t make him work very hard for his happy ending. Phoebe, meanwhile, is a control freak who is constantly being mad at something. It’s a shame that Phoebe comes off as one-dimensionally prickly so often because everything else about her, from her sex life to her past, is relatively and refreshingly normal compared to that of many heroines out there.
The main problem of this book, though, is that the characters, especially the heroine, begin to do increasingly unbelievably stupid things as the story progresses, culminating in the heroine seriously rushing off in a thunderstorm of all thunderstorms to get some quail eggs. And no, nobody will die if she postpones her quest for those eggs. Phoebe, who is still angry at everything, wants to prove… something… by pulling off that stupid stunt. That scene is great, I suppose, as a set up for the hero to show up and rescue her, but it is even better as a scene to demonstrate that the heroine is really that hopeless. She’d probably hang herself because her pantyhose isn’t dry enough one of these days.
The one saving grace of Deliciously Sinful is the love scenes being quite, er, lovely to read. But that’s hardly any compensation for the two main characters trying to outdo each other when it comes to being melodramatically stupid. To be fair to Ms Feisty, though, she did warn me about the rampant stupidity in this book by shoving the mother of all stupid at my face in the prologue. Oh, why didn’t I heed that warning?