Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-270-9
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Now, picture yourself as our heroine Beth. I don’t remember reading her last name here – Tequila and Tingles is one of those stories where only the hero is important enough to warrant letting me know of his last name. Anyway, you meet Jason Johnson, the swimmer who won a gold medal at the Olympics and, for once, isn’t a mouth-breathing knucklehead like most professional swimmers out there. There were tequila, flirting, laughing, dancing… and you wake up in bed with him. You are a divorcee, not seeing anyone at the moment, and he seems to like you. He likes your kids too.
So, what do you do?
If you spend the rest of the story acting like you have just received news that you have a big pole up your nether region and, sorry, no amount of surgery is able to pull it out, then you will relate to the heroine in this one. Beth had a horrible divorce so every nice thing Jason does for her and her kids is a mortal offense. She also acts like she has committed the greatest shame of all by sleeping with a guy when she’s certainly single, going as far as to say that such “shameful behavior” should be reserved for people in their twenties. Oh, and Beth is in her thirties. Bet you think, from her attitude, that she’s in her nineties, eh?
Simply put, the hero’s alright – he’s just a nice guy hoping to take a break and relax by teaching kids to swim in this quiet part of the world. But he’s paired up with a heroine who really needs to see a shrink about all those issues that are making her behave like an unreasonable mule. I don’t know what Jason sees in her – she rejects him but can’t really let him go, treats him like dirt, and at the same time she’s not very nice to her own kids as well. The only reason the guy sticks with her is because the author is never letting that poor guy walk away and find someone less emotionally volatile to settle down with.
This is basically a story about a man patiently and slowly humoring the heroine as she uses the unhappy events in her past to behave like a prickly hedgehog, at the end of the day. Considering that I still have no idea why anyone would kiss Beth instead of smothering her with a pillow, I suppose I can say that the whole thing never feels real or enjoyable enough to me.