Berkley Sensation, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-101-98796-7
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Despite what the cover or the title of the series that this book is part of – Wild Aces – may let you to think, Fly with Me is not a romantic suspense story. There are no military espionage and explosions. Yes, the series revolves around a bunch of hot and sexy US Air Force fighters, but the hero of this one, Noah Miller, spends more time giving it good to the heroine Jordan Callahan than giving hell to the terrorists. Yes, this is one book that focuses more on the steam and the sadness – a bit like an X-rated Lana Del Rey song, come to think of it.
Vegas, baby! Noah is there with his buddies for the Red Flag at the Nellis Air Force Base. Jordan is there to attend her sister’s bachelorette party. He practically makes her eyes burn when he walks into the club, and she instinctively knows that he’d fit her better than her favorite sweater. She wants to play a bit hard to get, as she knows that way she’d make a bigger impression on him than another notch in his bedpost, but she has her bad baby by her heavenly side, feeling electric. And so, yes, the sex – it’s amazing, shockingly hot, and the reason, I suspect, why some people will want to read this book.
And then, it’s summertime sadness. The nature of his job means that he would be headed out on Sunday, said he’d come on Monday, but the poor dear Jordan ends up staying up, waiting, anticipating, and pacing. It hurts him that he can’t give her more of a normal relationship, and he wonders why he’s hurting or why he wants to give her more. She’s hurting too, because she’s a bit confused. She knows he’s not the usual stable family guy type, and they are just doing this long-distance, simple and uncomplicated, in and out… but what does she really want, exactly?
No, really, this entire story is at least four Lana Del Rey songs all rolled into one.
Now, the good. The sensual elements work. The author doesn’t get too explicit – this one isn’t an erotica, let’s just say – but the easy chemistry makes the whole thing hot. I also like how the author avoids turning Jordan into some stereotypical virgin twit who just wants to get wild only once in her life – our heroine is not inexperienced or naïve in a blinking goldfish way. These are two people who enjoy the games they play.
The emotional second half is a nice plus, as it allows the main characters to get off that bed and explore their feelings beyond the ooh-ahh zone. While a part of me winces when the author uses a tragedy to showcase the whole “You are really that important to me – we can’t take life for granted!” thing – that plot device is so played out – I like how the author manages to create some angst and drama.
But here’s the downside – the emotion and the drama are all rather superficial in nature. When it comes to Jordan and Noah, I feel that the author has barely scratched the surface – these two characters are likable, yes, and they certainly like their bedroom percussion, but I don’t get a good idea of who these people are even by the last page. When it comes to romance, I feel that the author has jumped from zero to “OVER 9,000!” too quickly, and as such, I never get to feel any connection to these characters or their so-called grand love. The author brings up how hard it is to form a stable relationship with a man whose job is like Noah’s, but the jury is still out whether she succeeds in convincing me that these two people have formed a bond strong enough to weather the rough patches that would no doubt await them down the road.
Still, I really like both the sexy part and the lightweight emotional part, even if a part of me feels that these two parts feel like they are from different books that are somehow mashed together. The brain insists that this is a solid three-oogie read, but the heart says that it won’t hurt to toss in an extra oogie for the good feelings it brings. Oh what the heck, it’s Monday, I can be generous. Get a ticket to Fly with Me – although it probably won’t hurt to adjust your expectations a bit first, so that you don’t have far to fall if things don’t go as planned.