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REVIEW: His Kind of Trouble by Samantha Hunter

Name: Chance Berringer
Trademarks: Chance by name…chance by nature!
Biggest weakness: Adventure and beautiful women—especially when combined in one caliente cook!

Danger is bodyguard Chance Berringer’s first, last and middle name. Protecting celebrity chef Ana Perez—a hot little firecracker with a mouth to match—for two weeks in Mexico is more vacation than job. Just keep his eyes on her, and his hands off. How hard can it be?

Plenty hard.

Ana doesn’t want a babysitter during the holidays. Even if Chance’s muscled hotness (complete with wicked grin) makes him a mouthwatering dish…. But when the heat starts sizzling in the bedroom—and beyond—will this hot tamale cause more trouble than Chance can handle?

Dear Ms. Hunter:

His Kind of Trouble contains a number of things I prefer to avoid when reading romance. It has a muscled, cocky hero with a silly name– Chance by name…chance by nature!—who spends much of his mental energy thinking “I’d like to tap that,” a feisty heroine who is a cultural stereotype—the curvaceous hot Latina who loves to cook and has a temper—and routinely makes Too Stupid To Live choices, a supermodel thin plot, and an “it’s all weddings and babies” epilogue.

His Kind of Trouble by Samantha HunterChance is the youngest of a group of brothers who provide security. In the first two books in Ms. Hunter’s The Berringers series, two of his older brothers fell in love with the women they were protecting and it’s clear Chance is headed down that path from the moment he meets his assignment, Ana Perez. Ana is the host of a very successful cooking reality show and someone has been anonymously threatening her. The TV studio–not Ana–hires Chance to be Ana’s bodyguard. Ana, because she’s so damn feisty, doesn’t want a bodyguard. (She’d rather be independent than alive.)

When Ana first meets Chance, she thinks he’s her stalker because he, wanting to prove to anyone and everyone that it would be really easy to break into Ana’s dressing room and kill her, breaks into Ana’s dressing room late at night while Ana is still there and lounges on her couch. Ana, when she walks in and sees him, is terrified but immediately berates him for hurting the building’s elderly security guard (while checking out his package.)

The man reached into his pocket, pulled out a small black phone. “Your security guy left his phone on the front desk when he went to the men’s room,” the man said laconically. “The studio definitely needs to beef up the night watch. It was easy as kittens to get in here. I could have been anyone.

Someone who does want to hurt you.”

She blinked. “What do you mean?”

He walked toward her and put out his hand, and she had another chance to appreciate the solid mass of muscle that allowed him to move with a dangerous kind of masculine grace. Cocky, self-assured, powerful and not at all worried about being caught. Certainly not afraid of her.

She was dismayed to hear a panicked squeak emit from between her lips.

As if he was dealing with a frightened animal, he bent down to her level.

“Ana, my name is Chance Berringer. I’m your bodyguard,” he said…

This scene, like most of the book, made me want to smack both Chance and Ana. It’s a dick move on his part—she’s being stalked; he breaks into her dressing room then treats her as though she’s a toddler. Ana, though panicked, takes time to check out Chance’s bod. She, as she does repeatedly, acts as though the threat against her is miniscule; her first and typical response to danger is to have a temper tantrum.

Once Ana understands who Chance is, she makes it clear to him she doesn’t want his help. The very next day, Ana plans to  head home to Mexico for the New Year holidays where she intends to relax for a couple of weeks—despite the fact her small Mayan village in the Yucatán is home to drug gangs who have for years, “terrorized” her people. Chance tells her he will be coming too. Ana, even though she has just received yet another creepy note from her stalker (he broke into her apartment and left an envelope full of dead rose petals), attempts to give Chance the slip. Chance, of course, is three steps ahead of her and essentially kidnaps her, takes her to his private plane, and flies her to Mexico.

By the time the plane has landed Ana and Chance are both planning to get in each other’s pants.

Ana:

He had great hands.

She wanted to know what they would feel like on her skin, for real, not in her dreams. Ana thought that was a very real possibility.

Chance:

Chance’s mind blanked and his body reacted to her scent and the soft curve of her ass pressing into his lap. Her fingers grabbed his shoulder to steady herself as she wiggled forward, trying to pull herself back upright. Her skirt had ridden up to new heights, exposing a delectable view of smooth upper thigh that made Chance ache to know what was hidden just a few inches higher. Her wiggling against him wasn’t helping.

“I’m so sorry,” she said on a breath, her face mere inches from his. “Clumsy.”

“Not your fault. Turbulence,” he said, sounding a bit hoarse.

Her lips looked delicious. Big, brown eyes widened as Ana watched him watch her, and it was all Chance could do not to pull her in closer and have a taste.

Once they arrive in Ana’s home town Hatsutsil, which just outside of the city of Mérida, Ana and Chance begin having great sex, eating fabulous meals, and dodging death. It turns out Hatsutsil is harboring someone who wants Ana killed which has nothing to do with the stalker in the States. This new threat is a bummer for Ana and Chance who would rather make love in what seem to be sacred Mayan ruins.

They entered a wide, much lower tunnel that seemed to squeeze the light from the spot where they had emerged, and for a moment, Chance wondered if this was safe. But, Ana walked ahead at a steady, confident rate, obviously knowing where she was going. It got very dark before they turned a corner toward light again, and emerged in a smaller cave that was lit only with dappled sunshine from far above. There were markings on the walls, and ornate statues and carvings that surrounded the area, almost like unfound treasure.

“What is this?” he asked.

Ana knelt by the side of the rock shelf, and dipped her hand down, and scooped up a handful of mud.

Chance smiled. “I’ve heard of this. Terracotta mud pools.”

“Mud baths, yes. This one is used only by the people of our village, guarded closely, as it is believed to have healing and even magical properties.”

“What are all the carvings and the markings?”

“Some are millennia old. Some are from last week, offered at the seasonal changes, connections to the old ones, ancestors, and gods. Many people in our village still follow old ways.”

Ms. Hunter does throw in bits of info about the Maya and the Yucatán but it’s fairly superficial. There’s a sub-plot involving Ana’s sister Lucia and Ana’s childhood fiancé Marco that makes very little sense but does allow for extra mayhem at the end of the book.

His Kind of Trouble is not my kind of novel. The characters are bland and annoying; the plot, silly and baffling; the writing, colorless and repetitive. And while I acknowledge a personal predilection for epilogue-free fare, this novel’s epilogue is so smug I wanted to suck a lemon after reading it. I give His Kind of Trouble a D.

Dabney

 

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I loved romances when, back in the mid 70's, in junior high, I read every Barbara Cartland novel I could check out from the library. Then, thanks to a savvy babysitter, I got my hands on the hot stuff. To this day I can remember how astonishingly steamy I found Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love. I abandoned romance when I went to college and didn't pick one up again until 2007 when I got my first Kindle. Since then, I’ve read countless romances; loved many, liked more, hated some. Most of what I read is historical and contemporary romance, but I’m open to almost any genre. I like my books to have sizzle, wit, and plots that make sense. I’d take sexy over sweet any day. I’m a sucker for smart heroes and smart-mouthed heroines. When not reading or writing about reading, or wishing I could rule the world, I'm meddling in the lives of my kids--I have four, ages 17 to 21--, managing my husband's practice, doing bossy volunteer work, and hanging out with Dr. Feelgood.

16 Comments

  1. Kelly
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:48:44

    “Hot little firecracker” and “hot tamale” in the cover blurb? REALLY???

    Who exactly are they marketing this book to by describing the heroine like that? Talk about fetishizing the “other” in multicultural romance. Sheesh.

    ReplyReply

  2. hapax
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:45:25

    Chance by name…chance by nature!

    Danger is bodyguard Chance Berringer’s first, last and middle name.

    Okay, WTF does this even mean?

    (Other than that their blurb writer wasn’t even trying, that is.)

    ReplyReply

  3. Dabney
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:54:12

    @hapax: @Kelly: The blurb certainly did the book no favors. I laughed at

    How hard can it be?

    Plenty hard.

    .

    ReplyReply

  4. Ren
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:20:49

    Ana, when she walks in and sees him, is terrified… (while checking out his package.)

    Do you mean to say I’m not the only woman who does not, when in a heightened state of stress and anxiety, ogle the nearest male crotch to soothe my frazzled nerves?

    “The ship is sinking, the sharks are circling, we’re all going to die, and that last cannonball took out the rum, but on the bright side, that guy has a nice cock, so it’s all good!”

    ReplyReply

  5. Mari
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:43:26

    @Ren HAHAHA…

    The blurb trades in fetishization, does the character live down to the stereotype?

    ReplyReply

  6. bam
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 11:36:32

    Oh dear God.

    If the heroine had been a Chinese-American, would she have been a “crunchy little fortune cookie” (or egg roll)?

    And French? “Buttery little croissant”

    Gross.

    Talk about the fetishization of “other,” indeed.

    ReplyReply

  7. LJD
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 12:34:33

    I think the cover is awful, too.

    ReplyReply

  8. AnAu
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 13:24:45

    The cover IS awful. The Australian edition uses the full image, which isn’t great, but at least it doesn’t zoom in on the ugliest part of the picture.

    http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781460894705

    ReplyReply

  9. bam
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 13:43:32

    Is that sand on his chest or… hair?

    Whatever, I’m not impressed by his man-titty. It’s so 80′s.

    ReplyReply

  10. TiceB
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:04:14

    I’m still caught up in the bodyguard who has his own plane. Who knew there was so much money in security?

    ReplyReply

  11. Jinni
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:09:00

    I always want more multicultural romances, but this reminds me of the fethishizing of the 80s. I thought we’d passed this . . . sigh. @Dabney – But I still want to know if the blurb and the book are just a mismatch and there isn’t continued cultural sterotyping.

    ReplyReply

  12. Dabney
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:26:27

    @bam:Is if offensive if you’re from that country? For example, here in good old Carolina, a generation of men still refer to a sexy woman as “one hot little biscuit.” (My friend Leslie says when she grew up her family called one’s womanly parts “your biscuit.”) Just, ah, food for thought.

    @TiceB: He won it in a bet from a guy who, if he lost, was to have shaved his head. The guy lost and–clearly not having read KA–balked at such an extreme grooming choice and gave Chance his beat up plane instead. Chance rebuilt it himself.

    @Jinni: There is stereotyping but it’s not as egregious as the blurb. In fact, all the women in Ana’s family are strong, sexually active, professionals. If there’s Mexican stereotyping, it’s probably more about the Mexican men in the book.

    ReplyReply

  13. Dabney
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:27:18

    @bam: I was startled at the nipple hair. Perhaps it signals a return to the manly hirsute chest?

    ReplyReply

  14. Mary
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 17:57:23

    I, too, must confess to giggling at the cover. A lot.
    Also, this is why I have almost entirely given up romantic suspense. Because I still hold the belief that any reasonably intelligent human being, when confronted with possible murderers/has been told their life is in danger/is on the run from a crazed murderer/any other dangerous situation, WOULD NOT be focusing on how hot their rescuer or worse, the possible murderer is. And this seems to happen a lot in that genre.
    If anyone can recommend romantic suspense without this or with it portrayed in a less TSTL or a more realistic way, that would be awesome possum.

    ReplyReply

  15. cleo
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 20:39:03

    @Dabney:

    He won it in a bet from a guy who, if he lost, was to have shaved his head. The guy lost and–clearly not having read KA–balked at such an extreme grooming choice and gave Chance his beat up plane instead. Chance rebuilt it himself.

    That’s hilarious.

    ReplyReply

  16. Dabney
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 20:51:54

    @cleo: And yet presented as eminently plausible.

    ReplyReply

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