Avon Impulse, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-06-244121-8
Contemporary Romance, 2016
For years now, Lane Gallagher has always wanted to show off his huge sheriff badge to Delilah Moore, but she was his brother’s high school ex and… no, it’s not that he doesn’t want to be on the same airstrip where his brother’s plane has landed in the past, it’s because of… uh. loyalty to his brother. Or something. We just need an excuse to keep them together and have this story happen, alright? Delilah wants him bad too, and she’s becoming annoyed that his plane hasn’t landed yet despite all the signals she is sending his way. When this story opens, her high school ex is settled down, she is inspired to really seduce Lane and land that SOB for good.
Oh, and there’s an arsonist about town, but if you’re a resident of Wildwood, you’re out of luck as Lane here is more focused on playing coy even as Delilah cranks up the putting out. Your house may be burning down to the ground, but who cares as long as actual important people are burning up the sheets.
Smolder may have a tired plot, but on the bright side, Delilah comes off like a normal lady with a few exes in her past, so she’s not some weird, neurotic obsessed thing like she would be in other titles with a similar premise. She knows what she wants, and she reaches out to get it, which is always a good thing in my book. Lane is more of a familiar character, but hey, this story is what it is, so the guy is what he is too.
However, the suspense subplot is really out of place here, and it eventually serves as a distraction as I have a hard time getting into the romance when I find myself wondering why Lane isn’t doing that investigating thing more. He’s the worst sheriff ever. That or he’s secretly the arsonist, which will make a really cool twist that will make this story not so predictable after all but come on, we all know that will never happen.
If I have my way, Smolder would have ditched the awkward subplot and become a hardcore erotica instead. It has the same problem as Ignite: by not having the characters pull out all kinds of fancy sex tricks to entertain the readers, the author soon causes the story to fall into a circular rut of the hero and the heroine going around in circles in their want-you-but-maybe-not-now song and dance.
Nobody will get hurt reading this thing, but if it would have been so much more entertaining if it had been shorter or dirtier.