REVIEW: Arm Candy by Jessica Lemmon
Last call! At the end of the night, a clean-cut hunk and a rebellious bartender act on their unlikely chemistry in this frisky standalone novel from the author of Eye Candy.
Davis: I’ve had my eye on Grace Buchanan for a while now. Unlike the bubbly blondes I usually date, the feisty, flame-haired bartender both intrigues and bewilders me. Something about Grace—the tattoos? the nose ring?—makes every part of me sit up and beg. There’s only one problem: She hates me. Trading insults and one-liners has become our M.O. But when Grace bets me that I can’t get a date with a non-blonde if my life depends on it, I’m determined to prove her wrong by landing the ultimate non-blonde: her.
Grace: I’m used to regulars hitting on me, and I’ve turned them all down, except for one: Davis Price. I like giving him a hard time, and he’s kind of cute in his suit and tie—if you’re into that kind of thing. Anyway, I don’t care how many blondes he takes home . . . until one of them sidles up to him in my bar. Nuh-uh. But after my little bet with Davis backfires, our first date lands us in the sack. So does the second. And the third. Neither of us wants more than the best sex of our lives. The trouble is, it’s not a question of what I want. It’s what I need. And what I need is Davis.
Dear Ms. Lemmon,
I think it was the blurb promise of a rebel bartender hooking up with a (implied) staid hero that snagged me. The rest of the description is good but not that out of the way. Except use of the term “frisky” instead of sexy or hot or steamy or any of the other adjectives littering blurbs these days. Yep, I like frisky.
Grace is totally in charge. She runs her bar with precision and a (slight) attitude. Leave her your name and number on the lousy two dollar tip? Yeah, sit tight til forever waiting on her to call you for a date. loser. But Davis Price is something else. He is someone she snarks with, cracks jokes with and otherwise hassles in a friendly “take no shit” way. Grace even rolls her eyes at Davis’s longstanding habit of picking up only short blondes to take home. Then she’ll needle him some more just for fun.
Davis is also smart and funny. He enjoys shooting the shit with Grace – Gracie Lou as he calls her – and more than keeps up his end of confident banter. He analyzes stocks – Gracie eye rolls at this – so he’s not risk averse and is ready to take her up on her “take home the next non-blonde who comes on to you” bet. He raises the betting by immediately asking out red-headed Grace. Well, she didn’t say she wasn’t included in the dating pool, did she?
Surprising both of them, their dating and then sexual chemistry is nuclear but for reasons they don’t hesitate to mention, both are not in this for a long term relationship. So what happens when the rules get waylaid and it looks like they might turn into forever? Will they latch on and not let go or is the past too much to overcome?
The conflict here isn’t out of the blue nor is it easy to put aside. Davis and Grace both have legitimate reasons for acting as they do and for backing away from what they discover they have and what that might lead to. They even spend time talking about all these reasons – no big misunderstandings here! They seemed to be on the same path, hesitant at times though they both were and did more than just engaging in hot sex: “Beer and zombies” and socializing with friends (love that Vince and Jackie from the previous book support this one instead of being prequel bait) and Davis’s fantastic grandmother (thank you for not making her little more than a cute senior citizen) who advises Grace “not to fuck it up.”
So what was the final roadblock going to be? Understandable self preservation on Grace’s part paired with lay it on the line and take “being taken down with dating buckshot” on Davis’s. But yay, that they don’t give into too much moping and mooning around before squaring their shoulders and seeming to get on with things. That is until they come face to face, reach deep and take the leap of faith and hope that love is. Now I have to find out where they’ll end up saying their (eventual) vows. Zombie wedding? B