Title: No Dress Required
Author: Cari Quinn
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Novella: 55 pages
May Contain Spoilers
After years of ho-hum dating, Noelle Gregory is tired of fooling around. There’s only ever been one guy for her—Jake Conroy, her best friend’s older brother. Now that Jake’s back in town, she’s headed to his sister’s New Year’s Eve party to make her move. Purse full of condoms? Check. Sparkly dress guaranteed to show Jake the sexy woman she’s become? Check.
Carjacker that makes off with both two hours before the party? Check.
When Jake finds Noelle stranded on the side of the road—looking sexier than ever in her striped socks and silly holiday shirt, damn it—he’s glad for the snowstorm that cancels his sister’s party. His and Noelle’s friendship has tormented him for years, and now, Jake wonders if he should dare to sample what he’s always wanted…and if he’ll be able to walk away when it’s over.
Noelle is having a very bad day. Her car has just been carjacked, along with her purse and her perfect party dress. It’s New Year’s Eve, and she had big plans for the dress, plans that involved Jake, her best friend’s bother, a guy she’s lusted after for years. Can Noelle still have a happy New Year, now that her plans have gone awry?
No Dress Required is a breezy, fun read that is perfect for a short disconnect from reality. Clocking in at just over 50 pages, the pacing is as unrelenting as the attraction that smolders between Noelle and Jake. Having recently suffered an emotional break-up, Jake isn’t ready for another relationship, especially one that involves his kid sister’s BFF. He has known Noelle forever, and even though he’s attracted to her, she has been firmly off-limits because of their age difference and because he doesn’t want to piss his sister off. When he encounters Noelle right after she’s been carjacked, he can’t just turn his back on her. When she declares her intention to seduce him, should he let her? While his brain is blaring warning signals, the rest of him is ready to give in, bad idea or not.
I found this an enjoyable read. It’s easy to devour in one sitting, and it doesn’t require much brain power. It’s a sexy read with a sense of yummy chemistry between Noelle and Jake, and I could hardly wait for them to throw aside their reservations and take a chance on developing their friendship into something more. My only quibble is the reason that Jake’s previous relationship ended; I was just not convinced with that plot reveal at all. I would have been more convinced if his ex had run off to join the circus.
Despite that one gripe, No Dress Required is an entertaining romp. Bring a bucket of popcorn, though you probably finish the story before you can munch your way through all of the popcorn.
Review copy provided by publisher