Novella Review: Neighbors by LS Murphy

Neighbors (Entangled Flirts)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I read Neighbors while I was having my new furnace installed.  I needed something quick to distract me from barking dogs and all of the clanging, banging, and other mysterious noises emanating from the basement.  I find it extremely distracting to have complete strangers in my house, tearing things apart and then miraculously putting things back together.  So did the dogs.  Do they really know what they are doing down there?  

Rena Woods is late for a meeting when CJ Riker blocks her car with his moving van.  Rena can’t help but find the surly Riker attractive; too bad he has a chip the size of a semi on his shoulder.  This couple definitely gets off on the worst foot possible.  Riker seems to take pleasure jerking her chain, and Rena can’t help but respond in the most negative ways possible.  She wonders why he is so nice to everyone else and so mean to her,  and she wonders how he lost his leg.  After receiving a death glare when she’s caught staring at his prosthesis, she knows better than to ask.

This is a nice little story.  At about 60 pages, the romance develops slowly, but very believably.  Rena and Riker go from being enemies to reluctant friends, to jogging buddies.  I enjoyed watching as their friendship blossomed because they had a lot of issues to work through first.  Neither of them has much trust when it comes to romantic partners, and neither is looking for a long-term relationship.  Before they realize what’s happened, though, their friendship has strengthened and they are wondering if there might be more there-if they are willing to fight for it.  Rena has to work especially hard at gaining Riker’s trust.  Since his injury, he doesn’t look kindly on pity, and he’s always afraid that’s the first emotion he’s going to gain from a new acquaintance.

Rena is struggling to get her interior design firm on the map, and I enjoyed reading about her trials with her clients.  I liked her POV, and would have liked spending more time with both Riker and Rena.  Maybe we can visit with them again when Josh gets to star in his own romance(fingers crossed).  Because of the short length, there isn’t a lot of time to analyze Riker and Rena’s relationship.  This makes the story less complicated than a longer work, but it didn’t detract from my reading experience at all.  All of the pieces to Rena and Riker’s relationship fall smoothly together, after their rough start, and I liked that.

Final verdict?  Neighbors worked successfully to keep me preoccupied, and prevented me from wondering why the furnace installers were making so much noise in the basement.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Rena Woods has a great life. She recently landed the contract to decorate the home of basketball wife, Cecilia Hood, her business is growing, and this contract could make her the elite decorator in St. Louis. Rena’s sacrificed her personal life for her company without a single regret. When Staff Sergeant C.J. Riker moves in across the hall, Rena can’t stand to be around him. He may be on the volcanic side of hot, but his attitude sucks. Riker does whatever he can to get under Rena’s skin.

After a massive blow to her business sends Rena on a self-destructive binge, Riker is there to save her from doing something she might regret. Could there be more to Riker than meets the eye? And will he open up enough to Rena to tell her how he lost his leg or shut out love forever?

Novella Review: Santa to the Rescue by Adele Downs

 

 

Santa to the Rescue (Entangled Flirts)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Santa to the Rescue is a very cute story.  Jamey is the new guy in town, and he’s working through his probationary period at Appleton Fire Station.  He’s feeling a little blue because it’s his first time away from home during the holidays, and he doesn’t have anyone special to spend Christmas with.  When he meets Heather at the grocery store, he’s instantly charmed, but can he convince her that he’s worth taking a risk on?

This novella worked for me because Jamey is such a sweet guy.  He’s proud to be on the Appleton fire fighting team, and now that he’s accomplished that goal, he’s eager to move on to his next life goal; finding the perfect woman and starting a family.   Being away from home for the first time is rough on him, so he wants to meet someone special to spend Christmas, and possibly the rest of his life, with.  Heather seems like the girl of his dreams, but when he has to break a commitment he made to her, he has to show her that he’s not a flake or a liar.  A tough job, because Heather has been burned many times in the past.

I’ll admit that Heather’s attitude irritated me at first.  Jamey was upfront about why he couldn’t make it to the party at the hospital, and I thought she was acting like a spoiled child about it.  If she couldn’t accept his odd fire fighter hours before they are officially even dating, how is she going to deal with them if they do enter into a long term relationship.  When she finally pulled on her big girl panties and admitted to herself that she needed to be more accepting of his erratic schedule, I did like her better.  Part of Heather’s problem with Jamey breaking the date was because of betrayals in her past, but if she never even gave him a chance to prove himself to her, she was going to be one lonely RN.

Jamey is desperate to make Heather understand how important his job is to him, and I loved how he was able to integrate a job conflict into her party.  Here’s a guy who goes above and beyond the call of duty because he is such a nice guy.  He was willing to think outside of the box to make Heather, his boss, and the hospital administration happy, and it’s hard to fault a guy for that.

Santa to the Rescue kicked off my holiday reading spree on a positive note.  Clocking in  at about 50 pages, there is a realistic conflict to Jamey and Heather’s romance, and a satisfying resolution for everyone.  You can’t beat that, especially in a holiday read.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Firefighter Jamey Tucker knows three things in life to be true: an honorable man doesn’t go back on his word; never hurts a woman; and lasting love isn’t a myth. But with his recent move to a new job at Appleton Fire Station, the long hours don’t offer hope of finding the love he’s looking for.

When Jamey meets beautiful pediatric nurse Heather Longhurst after hearing her sing "Santa Baby" in a supermarket aisle, he offers her a promise he discovers he can’t keep. Heather has been betrayed by men in the past, making it hard for Jamey to gain her trust. Determined to find a way to win her heart, Jamey uses firefighter engine-uity and Heather’s favorite song to prove he’s got Christmas spirit she can believe in all year.