Dear Ms. Dane:
I included this book in January’s recommended reads because I like straight up contemporaries that feature two people falling in love. This is one of those books. It is, however, a qualified recommendation for a couple of reasons. First, the love story is largely without conflict, either internal or external. Second, the dialogue of the characters seemed artificial at times.
Brody Brown is in a good place in his life. His tattoo business is the best in the West. His younger sister is settled in a different but satisfying relationship with her husband and their boyfriend. His younger brother is enjoying the fruits of being a famous rock star. Brody has few responsibilities other than to enjoy his good fortune.
Elise Sorenson is trying to get to that good place in her life. After the her abusive husband broke her leg and ruined her career as a prima ballerina, Elise moved West with her daughter, Rennie, to get a new start. She is opening a dance studio and tries to create a stable and loving home environment for the both of them. She’s surprised by the feelings of lust and longing stirred by her handsome neighbor, Brody.
Elise and Brody are so amazingly well adjusted that their relationship floats smoothly from the meet across the street to the deal to be friends with benefits that deepens into something more serious.
"We have chemistry, Elise. We fit. Given the way I nearly came just from kissing you for five minutes, I think we should expand our friendship to friends who have sex."
She was silent, chewing her bottom lip until he began to think he probably shouldn’t have said a damned thing.
She met his gaze without blinking. Nodding. "I agree."
There were opportunities for emotional conflict that were never fully explored, particularly early on.
For example, Elise was abused by her husband but showed little fear of men. Brody and his friends were big, rough, tattooed looking guys. She finds herself attracted to them even if a little scary. This showed how well Elise had recovered from her abuse, but it was also an opportunity to develop some emotional conflict in a story that had very little.
I’m not sure whether it would have been forced and inauthentic, but the story could expounded, earlier on, Elise’s secret of why she felt she wouldn’t be able to have a long term relationship with Brody. Brody’s need to not have responsibilities could have been subject to more emotional agnst than was present in the story. He makes some noises about not wanting women with baggage, but he jumps into the sack pretty quickly with Elise.
Another example of a missed opportunity was when Brody warned away one of his friends from Elise, not because he wanted her but because Brody didn’t want said friend to sleep with Elise and then dump her because then Brody would be stuck with a brooding emotional neighbor.
Cope snorted and got on his bike. "Not for you, dumbass. For me. You can get your own pussy, I’m not your pimp."
"Don’t fuck anyone in my neighborhood, Cope. The last thing I need is to be involved in a situation where some woman is brooding over you when you dump her. Don’t fuck where I sleep."
"You wish I’d fuck where you sleep." Cope raised a brow, smirking before he slid his shades up over his eyes.
Brody never gives it even a second thought, though, when his attraction becomes physical with Elise.
Now, it would seem that I didn’t like this book at all, what with my complaints about the lack of tension and all, but the fact is, I really did like Elise and Brody and I did enjoy watching them fall in love. I appreciated that the two were well adjusted adults. I don’t like stupid conflict for the sake of conflict. That’s as tiresome as the reverse. So while I chafed at parts of the story, I also had no problem turning the pages. I think what helped is that the sex scenes were very hot. *blushing* Ahem.
There is some conflict asserted toward the end when Elise’s inlaws try to make Elise out to be unfit and take the Rennie away from her, but even that is fairly easily resolved. For fans of the straight up, very sexy contemporaries, I would recommend Coming Undone with the warning that it has very little conflict or emotional tension. C+
This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free.