True Blue Love
by Melissa Lopez, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-275-6
Like the previous two stories revolving around the private lives of the Thorn brothers, this one has the hero calling the heroine "bird" and "sheila". It's an Australian thing, since these guys are Australian and this story is set in that country. I have to admit that I am not fond of such terms of endearment myself because they sound really corny to me, but like I have done with the previous two stories, sticking a photo of Hugh Jackman at one corner of the PC as I read this story helps a lot in making the hero less corny.
Miles Thorn is the eldest Thorn brother. He is also the most responsible one - or so he thinks, heh. When the story opens, his plane has barely landed when he is clumsily propositioned by an American woman. He is not going to turn down a welcome-home gift from Kaycee Hollenbeck, however, so those two end up sizzling the sheets in a hotel room. However, what is supposed to be a temporary no-strings-attached fling gets complicated when Kaycee, a registered nurse hoping to start in a new life in the Australian Outback, ends up working for someone who currently has a close professional relationship with Miles. These two are not getting away from each other that easily. Conflict arises when Kaycee realizes that she can't escape her past that easily.
This one is a pleasant and easy read, with some aspects of it reminding me of an old-school Harlequin Romance (minus the rampaging asshole hero thing). However, there is a greater emphasis on sex scenes that results in the characters coming off as rather underdeveloped. Miles is the rugged type who is at home in the Australian wilderness, he is ten years or so older than Kaycee, and he is protective of her. But apart from some superficially treated issues about commitment, Miles doesn't have much depth here. Likewise, Kaycee is a superficial character. She is a damsel in distress type who has lead a "good" life so far, couldn't even proposition a guy decently (she asks him to bed, but he's the one who brings up the matter of protection during sex), and she arouses Miles' protective instincts as well as his more carnal ones. The author attempts to show these two talking and bonding, but I feel that this relationship could have been developed a little bit more. Every time I feel that the characters are finally going to connect, the author will have these characters stop talking in order to paw at each others' clothes and hop into bed instead.
As I've said, True Blue Love isn't a bad read. It's just that this story is a little on the underdeveloped side to me. Maybe I should have saved this story for a time when the weather is more sunny (it's rainy season over here), because this is actually a good example of a light beach read.
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