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REVIEW: Flirting with Intent by Kelly Hunter

“Ruby’s Relationship Rules…

Ruby Maguire is done with being jerked around by men. Now she just needs to know three things about a potential bedmate: his name, where he’ll be in a week’s time and what it is he wants from her.

Damon West knows plenty about subterfuge and secrets, and nothing about being truthful with women. But Ruby demands honesty between them so Damon gives her as much as he can: I’m Damon West. I’ll be leaving Singapore in a week. And I want you to touch me.

At least, that was the intent…but something’s telling normally bulletproof Damon that one week with Ruby might not be so easy to recover from….”

Dear Ms. Hunter,

After all the glowing accolades your books have garnered here and from friends whose reading taste I trust, plus the one other good reading experience I had with another of your Presents novels, I kept your name simmering on my back burner of authors I needed to get back to. Here I am. It sounded like I might have a winning experience in your latest book “Flirting with Intent.” Sassy sounding heroine + mysterious hero who are thrown together in intense hawtness – though in Hong Kong, not Singapore. It started well but, alas, didn’t end well for me.

flirtingThe first half of the story is great. Ruby and Damon are refreshingly honest with each other and since they’re both such experts in reading people and have had some similarities in their life experiences, they click – with each other and with me. The conversations are light, funny and zip around like quicksilver. It’s like watching two evenly matched verbal athletes. Or like listening to intelligent conversational foreplay. And this is before they start singeing the sheets and shocking the limo driver. Picture me with a big grin as I read it.

And then….and then all the secrets start coming out – or being revealed. Things start to get darker in tone and I’m wondering where my light, flirty book went. Suddenly it’s fast forward to Australia and two weeks at Damon’s beach house – which sounds lovely by the way. And despite these two getting to know each other better and having fun and finding out that they just might want to possibly explore maybe making room in their lives for each other, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this section was the literary equivalent of wheels spinning in the mud. Despite everything I just said in the previous sentence, I felt stuck. I know that’s contradictory but I just wanted something to happen. It was with immense relief to my reading self that Ruby and Damon then head back to Hong Kong.

Until they got there and I began to feel slightly bored with descriptions of corner offices and linguistic requirements for Ruby’s new office manager. I knew that a secret Damon was keeping from Ruby had to go off like a bomb soon and then they’d need to pick up the pieces and regroup before the HEA. But by this time the page count was also running short. Then the grenade went off, the fallout was intense and somehow Ruby pulled understanding out of her hat and effected a reconciliation that flung us back to the cute opening, all in a very short space of time.

I finished reading with a feeling of whiplash, which I think was in part due to the whole of the book not matching the light tone I’d read into the blurb. There is some serious shit going on here but the pace just seemed “off” and the length too short to do justice to the issues presented and the pain Ruby and Damon go through. C

~Jayne

 

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

10 Comments

  1. Laura Florand
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 08:07:14

    “Ruby and Damon are refreshingly honest with each other and since they’re both such experts in reading people and have had some similarities in their life experiences, they click – with each other and with me. The conversations are light, funny and zip around like quicksilver. It’s like watching two evenly matched verbal athletes. Or like listening to intelligent conversational foreplay. And this is before they start singeing the sheets and shocking the limo driver. Picture me with a big grin as I read it.”

    This is what I like so much about Kelly Hunter. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, though, so can’t speak to your problems with the end, but you’ve caught what I love about her perfectly here. And they’re always likable people. Even if I don’t always agree with them, nobody’s acting like a jerk for the sake of it. (Which I mention just because in the context of HP, I know people have been burned in the past.)

  2. Estara
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 09:28:15

    This book worked a bit better for me than you, I gave it four stars at GR. I actually liked her shorter length better here.

  3. Ridley
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 10:22:16

    I liked this more than you did, but I wouldn’t argue with a single one of your criticisms. I guess Ruby and Damon’s flirty dynamic just made me wave my hands at the flaws. She and her headbands were just so adorable.

  4. Ros
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 11:39:59

    I really enjoyed this one. I loved the time in Australia, particularly the way that Damon’s character gets explored there. I do agree that the huge bombshell happened and was dealt with a little bit too quickly at the end. But I forgave it that for the sake of Ruby and Damon who are such great characters.

  5. Marg
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 19:10:10

    I just read this one yesterday. I am a big fan of Kelly Hunter’s books but this one did feel very rushed at the end and like you I was looking at the number of pages left wondering how it oculd possibly be resolved so quickly. I still liked the dialogue and the settings but it didn’t quite work as well for me as some of her other books.

  6. Jayne
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 06:36:09

    @Ridley: I loved her headbands and wish she’d had one on for the cover. If the whole book had remained at the high level of the flirtiness, this would have been an easy B+ or maybe an A for me.

  7. Jayne
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 06:37:41

    @Laura Florand: I have noticed the likeable factor in her books and it’s something I really appreciate. These are nice people and I *want* them to find happiness.

  8. Jayne
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 06:41:13

    @Marg: This is the beginning of a series so perhaps there will be a bit more closure about all this in the next books.

  9. Ros
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 07:28:25

    @Jayne: I have read the second in the series, which I also enjoyed, but Damon and Ruby barely feature and as for the other unresolved plot, it does move quite a bit further on but there is still clearly room for the third book in the series which I am eagerly awaiting.

  10. Kelly Hunter: Take 2 | Me and My Books
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 11:36:34

    […] North America fairly recently; I recall seeing a couple of reviews around – here’s the Dear Author one (a C grade).  It worked better for me. […]

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