REVIEW: The List by Tawna Fenske
As the millionaire owner of a chain of computer shops, Simon Traxel isn’t normally hands-on with mundane repairs. But when a fretful brunette shows up with her fried laptop and killer green eyes, he makes an exception. And as it turns out, she needs more hands-on help than Simon imagined.
Brainy soil scientist Cassie Michaels has spent her whole life feeling like a grungy tree trunk beside her delicate flower sisters. To make herself more interesting, Cassie invented stories about her wild sex life—stories she’s expected to retell in vivid detail at a bachelorette party. Cassie’s attempt to catalog her biggest whoppers goes awry when she spills wine on her laptop and lands in Simon’s shop with her sexy list frozen on the screen.
But Simon’s interest is piqued, and the two strike a deal to make Cassie’s make-believe sexploits a reality. From steamy public romps gone hilariously awry, to sexy antics with kitchen utensils, their quest to conquer The List is equal parts scorching hot and adorably awkward.
As they near the end of The List though, Cassie and Simon second guess their pledge to shake hands and say goodbye when they cross off the last item. But will Simon’s big secret make that the one fantasy that can never come true?
Dear Ms. Fenske,
I must enjoy the computer geek trope because here I go with another one. But actually it was the soil scientist heroine aspect that really grabbed me and the fact that working through her sexy list sounded like it was going to be fun as well as hot. I also loved that our hero Simon is turned on not only by Cassie’s exuberance but the fact that she’s smart too. He finds that an uber turn-on.
Simon is immediately attracted to Cassie when she brings her wine-splashed computer in to be repaired but not because she’s after him. As a man who has been pursued for his money, this means a lot as well as the fact that Cassie doesn’t seem to know who he is. While Cassie might not have actually lived out her Fucket List as she’s lead her sisters to believe, she’s not a virgin and has a healthy sex drive which she has no shame in supplementing with assorted sex toys. I also like that her initial decision to invent her tall tales is presented as her taking charge of her image rather than as being ashamed. It’s also gotten her out of countless “at home” parties which I admire the hell out of.
While the shorter length of the book precludes a lot of Cassie or Simon at work, it is shown that they are passionate about what they do. Heck, Cassie initially describes Simon’s eyes thusly.
“The tortoiseshell glasses he wears frame brown eyes the exact color of undrained alluvial silt.”
She also thinks Simon’s smile “makes my stomach feel like a phreatic eruption in the magma chamber of a shield volcano.” Get on with your soil scientist self, Cassie!
They’re both science geeks which is a mutual attraction. Cassie hesitates when Simon volunteers to help her with her List but she takes the time to check him out and he gets bonus points for taking it seriously as well as getting the Sextra Credit list going. As I’m reading their initial decision to get down and sexy so quickly, I remind myself that this is fiction and thus allow myself to go with the flow and just enjoy it. Their geekiness emerges at times such as when they’re trying to decide the exact term for the kitchen implement Cassie wants to be spanked with – is it a spatula, a flipper or a scraper? But once they dive into the list, it’s full steaminess ahead.
Cassie’s been incredibly open and honest with Simon – it’s her sex fantasies they’re bringing to life after all – but Simon is holding back. He lets her believe he merely works at the computer store, always meets her at her place or out somewhere and never lets her see his Mercedes. I can accept this for two reasons: his past relationships have mainly ended because all women see him as is a giant $ sign and, more importantly, the nature of his and Cassie’s agreement is to check off the List items as fuck buddies with no intention to take it any further.
As they become more involved, he does feel uneasy but the third reason for separating this from his life is his sister. Simon is the best big brother who advocates for not only his sister but has started a program for people with disabilities to work in his computer stores. His sister Junie tends to latch onto his relationships and has trouble processing the fact that they’re over. Simon doesn’t want to upset her with any short term thing with Cassie. Still, once Cassie does discover the truth, the fact that he lied – even by omission to her – hits hard. She had begun to think about seeing Simon beyond the List and thought he had too.
Simon has to think hard and fast and make use of his sources of info to see if he’s got a chance to win Cassie back. He does fairly quickly though Cassie makes him work for it a little. Brava that they don’t rush into any wedding plans. In fact, given their mutual aversion to marriage, it might take a sequel or two – which I hope there will be – before there’s any sign of that. This one is cute, funny, geeky and sexy. B