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REVIEW:  Prince Charming Wears Garters by Clancy Nacht

REVIEW: Prince Charming Wears Garters by Clancy Nacht

princecharmingwearsgarters

Sara feels like her life is on track. She has the career of her dreams as a senior art director at one of the hot ad agencies in town. Her only real annoyance is the womanizing account executive in the office next door, Chuck.

When Chuck lands a new account, he sets his sights on Sara to work with him, but she gets the feeling he’s looking for more. Working late one night she discovers Chuck’s secret: he loves wearing ladies lingerie. Surprising to her, she can’t resist his long legs in silky stockings and her lust drives her to begin an ill-advised affair.

As a career-oriented woman, she’s not sure if she’s ready to balance her steamy encounters with work life, and she’s positive that trying to date Chuck would be a disaster. Yet, each time they get together she can’t help but speculate on what Prince Charming’s wearing under his well-tailored trousers.

Dear Clancy Nacht,

While looking over the latest offerings from Loose Id, it struck me that I can only recall ever reviewing one book with a transvestite character. That was enough to make me request your book. But while I thought I was going to get Lite and Funny, things took a turn for darker while also veering away from the lingerie.

“Prince Charming” has a fast, funny start with the image of prairie dog junior workers popping up over the cube farm that is their workplace to check out the latest office scandal – Chuck’s newest ex yelling at him- or later on – his riveting interactions with Sara. Sound, and gossip, certainly does carry there.

Sara and Chuck are quickly thrown together on a new ad campaign but I liked that Sara is already established and successful at her job. She can yank Chuck’s chain a little and not worry about losing her job as well as putting him in his place a few times to remind him she’s not to be messed with.

The plot then moved zippity quick to sex. The main pull of story could have been utilized more and I wish it had. By the end, even I was starting to think I might share Sara’s men-in-garters fetish. You did make that sexy and hot. Still Sara never asks Chuck what got him started wearing women’s undergarments nor does she ask him where he buys his lacy, frilly, silky smooth, fishnet wonders. But then see above about hot smexy smex in the office – though watch that carpet please.

Dane and Trey are Sara’s two GBFFs but at least Trey is an architect and Dane makes a living at his art production. Yeah it’s a little much with the trip to day spa but they’re happily married so that evens it out a bit. Chuck is already pre-programmed to fall for Sara due to her ex’s rants which told him that this unknown woman was his perfect match. That helps my belief in his belief in their relationship jump starting so quickly.

Chuck’s angsty back story life also gets ladled on which moves their feelings way deeper than would be expected but with a shorter page count, every shortcut to emotional intimacy counts.

Sara really has the sh*t luck in her jobs and this is where the book took a sharp right turn into the dark side that I wasn’t expecting. All of a sudden, my fun flirty little read is all Really Deep Shi*t and where did that come from? Should I have been expecting this in a book set in the advertising world? Is it still Mad Men and sexual harrassment for all women in that industry regardless of their position? Wow.

Which leads me to warn about triggers. The scene is written so well that I was with Sara in feeling helpless as it progressed. I just wish she had been the one to administer a sharp kick where it counts but I guess in the end, she and the others hit the whole agency where it hurts.

Sara’s initial shame and feelings of responsibility for what almost occured make me sad for her and mad at the world that this still happens. I mean really? Even her female mentor was going to let this go on? Wow. Just makes me so glad my profession is not this way.

I like the funny, I like the sexy and I’m still turning over my thoughts about liking the lace (though I wish there’d been more of it) , plus I always like cats but I think readers need to be ready for some office harrassment and the “quick on the draw” relationship. B-

~Jayne

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REVIEW:  Red Dirt Duchess by Louise Reynolds

REVIEW: Red Dirt Duchess by Louise Reynolds

Red Dirt Duchess cover - Calbre

Dear Ms. Reynolds:

I decided to read Red Dirt Duchess because it was set in part in outback Australia and because the heroine sounded interesting. The Australian setting was nice and Charlie was indeed an enjoyable heroine, but it wasn’t enough to overcome some weaknesses in the plot and characterization. Before I move on, I’d also like to note that there are no duchesses in the book and that Charlie has dark hair, so I’m at a loss as to how the title and cover were chosen.

Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is a travel writer – exclusive resorts and other expensive attractions – for Aristo magazine. He’s educated, polished and successful. His editor Caro sends him to middle-of-nowhere Bindundilly, an assignment that he believes to be her idea of a punishment when their supposedly no-strings affair does not lead to something more serious. If this were a historical romance, Jon would be the rakish aristocratic hero with a severe case of ennui who doesn’t get along with this family and doesn’t know what to do with his life. In a contemporary, he’s mainly lacking in direction and initiative: he’s mainly focused on holding off his mother, who wants him to marry and produce heirs (he’s the second son of an earl), and avoiding Caro, who is the sort of woman his mother would choose. That said, he’s more appealing than the description suggests.

At Bindundilly, Jonathan meets Charlie Hughes, who runs the local hotel/pub. Charlie is the daughter of an artist father and a mother who struggled on and off with drug addiction; she had an unconventional childhood, and she misses her parents, both now gone. She moved to Bindundilly with her father a few years before his death, and likes living there. Charlie and Jonathan hit off pretty quickly. She finds it entertaining to oversell the dangers of the Australian outback to Jon, and he enjoys playing along to see how far she’ll go with it. They end up kissing and consider doing more, but both know that there’s no real possibility of a relationship given their very different lives and they decide to leave it at that.

Charlie’s father painted a mural on one of the pub’s walls that reminds Jon of a painting at his family’s home, Hartley Hall; this painting is personally meaningful to him and is tied to a childhood trauma that remains unspecified for much of the book. Charlie knows very little about her father’s background, other than that he was British-born, and before Jon leaves, he suggests that she should travel to England to see the painting and try learn more about her father.

It’s not clear why they think that this is the best way for Charlie to look into her father’s past, but a few weeks later, she impulsively takes Jon up on his offer. Maybe Google wasn’t working that day. Once the action shifts to England, the book loses much of its charm. I was again reminded of historical romances, because anyone who’s read certain classics should be able to predict the rest of the plot: Jon’s family, especially his mother, doesn’t approve of Charlie; she makes friends with the sassy and ultra-competent butler; the older Lady Rushton, a friend of the family, immediately takes to her; Charlie saves the day when there’s an emergency at a glitzy wedding being hosted at Hartley Hall (the family rents it out for events as a source of income); surprise relatives pop up, and so on. Jon’s family is the most stereotypical cold upper-class family imaginable and Caro is a standard-issue bitchy ex (though not an outright evil one, at least). It was all just too cookie cutter to really be engaging.

The thing is, this could have been a really nice romance. Charlie and Jon have chemistry, especially in the early parts, and they clearly enjoy each other’s company and like one another. Charlie is confident in herself and mostly happy with her life, and while she feels out of place in England, she doesn’t view herself as unworthy or less than the people she meets. When she steps up to help at the wedding – of a reality TV star known mostly for taking her clothes off – she’s happy to help make the couple’s day special and is the one person who never condescends to them. She recognizes her parents’ faults but loves them nonetheless, and wants to be with Jon, but not if he can’t stand up for himself and make his own choices rather than his mother’s. Charlie, and to a lesser extent Jon, deserved a better and less generic story. C-/C

Best regards,
Rose

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