Expectations, Infidelity and the Terminator

I am an avid reader (and hopeful aspiring author) of Harlequin Blaze, the hottest and sexiest line of their category line stable.  In it you will find the trademark hot-lovin’ in a variety of positions, locations and with or without accompanying toys.  This line is lava-hot but also promises a happily- ever-after (HEA) or a happliy-for-now (HFN) ending for one man and one woman – an emotional connection in addiiton to the sexual one.  If you want sex with multiple partners of either gender, you need to look elsewhere (like the Harlequin SPICE line).

So, when I picked up and read, ‘Reckless Pleasures” by Tori Carrington (a long-time favorite of mine) I was thrown by my reaction to the plot.  Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

”Six months apart is a long time. For security expert, Megan McGowan, it feels like forever since she’s felt the strong arms of Darius Folsom around her. Since Dari’s military deployment six months ago, every minute apart is another minute that Megan finds herself tempted . . .

Bad boy Jason Savage is Dari’s best friend – and partner in the new security firm Dari and Megan have formed. Only as Megan and Jason work closely together on an emotionally charged case, the attraction between them goes from hot to nuclear meltdown.

But even as Megan’s libido screams “Oh, yes!” she wonders if it’s possible to love one man – and give in to her hunger for another . . .”

 

Hmmm . . . . now let me caveat that I am not a book reviewer. I know what I like and what I don’t. I like some plot points (celebrities and sports stars) more than others (cowboys) but I can always enjoy a good book.  And this was  good book.  Tori Carrington is a solid writer who delivers hot sex, well-developed characters, and an intriguing plot.  This book was no exception on those points.

But, I had to struggle to complete it and at the end it left me . . . well, I was many things. I’ve had my fill of stories about infidelity and the consequences (and, it has totally ruined my enjoyment of “Total Recall”) and this book was well-timed to be caught up in my thoughts on that  area of discussion.  And, add to the mix that I work for the military and many of my friends have deployed and faced this very occurrence – so yeah, I have baggage on this one.

I had a hard time liking Megan or Jason and I was disappointed in Dari and his reaction to the news when he returns home, injured due to an IED. As a writer, I was intrgued by the thought of tackling infidelity in a Harlequin Blaze novel but I was also left with a sense of disappointment of reader expectation. After much thought about my reaction, I determined that the source of my disappointment wasn’t the storyline or subject matter – it was the fact that because of the reactions, excuses, explanations, and feelings of all three interested parties, I didn’t get the sense that any of them were “the one” for the other.

The love story, the connection between the hero, heroine or third wheel, didn’t grab me enough to make me emotionally invest in the story.  I wasn’t turning the page with that gut-twisting, angst and my inner voice saying “You were meant for each other.”  And that is the source of my disappointment – I didn’t fall in love with either of the men and I didn’t want to be Megan.  The book was well-written and it did get my attention but not for the reason I read romance.

This book has created a stir for many readers and the Web is full of blog posts and book reviews on the subject matter.  The bottom line is this: whether they love it or hate it, it has garnered a reaction from a great many people.

What books have you read that didn’t live up to your expectations but “stayed” with you anyway? Are there some plotlines, stories, subject matters that you will not read?

Robin