Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Morning After, Sally Clements (3.5 stars)

From Amazon: One photo changes everything... A mortifying incident in her youth has shaken sense into Cara Byrne. No more bad-boys. No more getting arrested. Instead, hard work and good behaviour has earned her a job teaching at the local Boys Secondary School, and a proposal from a worthy man. So what if he doesn't exactly light her fire - surely passion is overrated?

When her friend since childhood, Ethan Quinn, storms back into the small Irish village he left to pursue a career as a Hollywood action hero, she's stunned to discover she's as susceptible to his lethal charm as every woman in the world. And when a compromising photograph floods the media of them in a clinch, her almost fiancé reveals his true colours, CarEthan starts trending on twitter, and she loses her job, could anyone blame her if she accepts his invitation to hide out at his Malibu beach house?

Ethan loves women, but never lets his girlfriends into his heart. He's failed at being there in the past, and won't put his heart on the line for anyone, ever again. But Cara's a different matter - and when passionate attraction is added to his friendship with the one person he's always confided in, he's thrown for a loop. Cara's lost everything, and like it or not, he's responsible. There's no fighting the attraction that blazes between them - but when the month long affair is over, will he ever be able to let her go?

Ever wondered what would happen if you were photographed with a celebrity and the media thought you were an item? Do you fantasize about a Hollywood affair?

Cara and Ethan have been friends for years, without a twinge of anything else until sparks fly at the most inopportune moment. When Ethan helps Cara out of a couple of jams, suggestive pictures end up tabloid fodder since he’s now a Hollywood star. Cara loses her job as a teacher, and worries she’ll never teach again. Feeling protective, Ethan brings her to Malibu to look after her. But he’s also aware of his growing feelings.

They ultimately succumb to their feelings with eyes wide open; they know the other’s faults, but also know they’d never hurt each other. I wanted these two to make it, to build on their tight connection and newfound passion.

Usually I complain when a romance rushes too much in the beginning and doesn’t make me believe two characters are falling for each other. I believed in these characters… I just wanted more story for them, an ending as well-paced and interesting as the beginning. This ending felt rushed.

The writing is engaging, the characters well-developed, and the love scenes sexy. All that was lacking was a bit more satisfying lead up to the conclusion. But please read and enjoy and see if you agree with me about the last quarter of the book. I’m happy to be wrong.

Rating: 3.5 stars
(For GoodReads and Amazon, I rated it 4 stars, since it was closer to a 4 than a 3.)
I reviewed Sally Clements’ novel, Marrying Cade, (a solid 4 stars) here. In my opinion, Sally Clements strikes a better balance in this novel with a bit more sizzle to boot.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.