Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-229292-6
Contemporary Romance, 2013
The cover of Codi Gary’s Things Good Girls Don’t Do suggests that this is going to be another “good girl gone wild” erotic story, but it turns out to be a small town story instead. It is a story of a good girl wanting to go wild, but while such stories are usually a display of non-stop stupidity, this one is actually enjoyable. A big reason for this is the believable heroine and the author’s wise decision to keep things down to earth and low key.
Katie Conners is living out her own country song. Eight months ago, her live-in now ex-boyfriend Jimmy ditched her for a younger woman. They had been together for seven years – seven years – and Katie’s blood boils each time she thinks of how much she has done for that SOB. When she receives the wedding invitation to the wedding of Jamie and his new girlfriend, something inside her snaps. What does that woman have that she doesn’t, to get Jamie to marry her in eight months when Katie couldn’t do that in seven freaking years? And… and… all her life of following the dictates of her mother to be all lady-like and nice leads to this point in her life. Is it worth it?
So Katie decides to make a list of the things she wants to do but never dared to in the past. Luckily for her, quite a number of items on that list can be fulfilled by Chase Trepasso, the bad boy in town whose tattoo parlor is already creating a bit of a stir among the more conservative folks in town. Won’t they be in for some surprise when the nicest gal in town starts skipping out with the new bad boy on the block?
While there is nothing out of the ordinary here, the story goes down a familiar route with a cheery bounce that is infectious. The author does almost everything right here. The small town secondary characters are not over the top intrusive or creepy, instead they fit in nicely with the rest of the story. More importantly, Katie and Chase have some fine romance going on here. Despite his “Look at me, I’m a tattooed nice guy cliché” exterior, he is an interesting character with some family issues that are dealt with nicely here, balancing his nice guy personality perfectly. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I find Katie’s behavior here understandable and I love following how she lets her hair down and falls in love in the process.
The author inserts plenty of humor here, and she smartly chooses to make her characters believable instead of over the top crazy, so I find myself laughing with these people, instead of at them. But there are some heavier issues there, especially when it comes to Chase’s relationship with his mother, that are dealt with in a mature manner. These characters have a good sense of self-awareness. Smart and sensible, just the way I like them.
Things Good Girls Don’t Do make me laugh, develop of fondness for these characters, and sigh at some of the more emotional moments. I don’t get a feeling that this is one small town that is populated by creepy people one machete short of The Hills Have Eyes, like I usually do with romances set in small towns. Sure, I’ve read this story before, many times, but this is definitely one of the better stories made from that particular mold.