It's pretty, isn't it?
I want me one of those men ;) Don't get me wrong, I really, really love my military romance books with their half-naked muscle men, but that man in his long sleeved shirt? Perfection...
Ok, carry on.
Toying with his Affections by Laura K. Curtis
Publisher: River Hills Press (7/14/2014)
Series: Goody's Goodies, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: ★★★★1/2
Good girl gone bad...
Evie Bell couldn't wait to get out of the small town that had labeled her a goodie two-shoes. She dreamed of showing her more daring side. Selling sex toys might not have been the career she envisioned when she left Fairview, TN, to become a Las Vegas showgirl, but she's proud of her hard-earned success. Now, forced to return to the town she'd hoped never to see again to care for her ailing aunt she will need every bit of that pride to get along with those who disapprove of her way of life.
Bad boy gone good...
Bad boy gone good...
Griffin Barstow was given a choice at eighteen: jail or the military. He chose the military. Now he's come home to Fairview to run for sheriff. But small towns have long memories and the last thing he needs while trying to convince voters he's turned his life around is an attraction to a completely inappropriate woman. Evie would like to avoid Griffin entirely. Her aunt, however, is in financial as well as medical trouble, and Evie must take on the job of making her aunt's shop more profitable the only way she knows how-by adding a touch of sex appeal. And when vandals make their disapproval of her changes evident, she needs the law on her side. When sparks begin to fly, both will have to decide whether a future together is possible given the issues of the past.
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This book was super cute (I feel like that's my go-to line, but it holds true).
Evie comes to town to help her ailing aunt -- to a town that will not understand her profession of choice. She sells sex toys and that's a bit too much for the small town she grew up in -- or so she thinks.
When Griff comes into the picture, Evie is attracted to him but does not let herself fall. After all, he's vying for another term as town sheriff and he can't have a tainted image and if there's one thing Evie's good for, she thinks, it's tainting images.
She pulled away. “I can’t do this.” She struggled for breath. “You can’t. We can’t.”
“I know.” His breathing came as raggedly as her own, but he didn’t let her go. Instead, he held her in place and dropped his forehead to rest against hers. “I’m sorry. I always seem to be apologizing to you. But, damn, I’ve wanted to do that from the moment you opened the door Sunday morning.”
She felt a flush rise up her neck and gave thanks for the darkness. “Well, as I’m sure you could tell, the feeling was mutual. But it can’t go on. Not if you hope to get elected.”
“I suppose not. Although—”
She didn’t wait for him to finish the thought, standing before the second syllable fully left his mouth. “Thanks for calling. I’ll see you later.”
“Please what? Please don’t be offended that you were about to suggest maybe we could just have sex once in a while and you could otherwise pretend we barely knew each other?”
“That’s not what I was going to say.”
“No?” Hands on hips, she faced him down. “What, then?”
“I just meant maybe we could, I don’t know, take things very slowly? Let people get used to you?”
"Let people get used to me. Give me a break. They won’t get used to me and you know it. You just wanted a little free nooky before you said ‘sayonara, guess this won’t work out.’”
“No, you don’t want nooky?” Her eyes dropped to his crotch.
“Of course I do. For crying out loud, Evie, you’re a beautiful woman. What guy in his right mind wouldn’t want to have sex with you? But that’s not what I was suggesting. That’s not who I am.”
“Of course not” The younger Griffin would have had her in bed before she’d blinked, but not this one. And why did that piss her off? “You’re far too upstanding a citizen to plan something so sordid.”
“Evie, talk to me.”
“No, thanks.” She climbed into her car and drove off.Griff is the furthest thing from ashamed of Evie; however, he's not very good at telling that to her. Evie keeps pushing away because she's not good enough, she's too much for his image, and he can't figure out the way to tell her to stay.
He nodded slowly. "You're right. I wasn't being precisely honest about my intentions. Fact is, I don't give a flip whether anyone else gets to know you. I want to get to know you."
He laughed, and she found herself reluctantly joining in.
"Yeah, that, too. But in all ways."So he keeps it to sex, because that's what guys are good for. Because when he and Evie do anything different, say, laugh in public, she takes it the wrong way.
Evie hiccupped again and they both laughed. And laughed. Until Griff caught his breath and said, "We need to stop. Can't have everyone coming out here and finding us like this."
Evie sobered immediately. No, naturally Griff wouldn't want to be caught enjoying her company.And, much to her dismay, Griff calls her out on her attitude change, to which she changes the subject. Oooh, Evie...
When they fall into a comfortable 'relationship', and her world starts falling apart again, sweet, sweet Griff let's her drive away, but makes her promise to come home -- because as much as Evie doesn't realize it (or, rather, tries to ignore it), he wants her around, sex toys and all ;)
"And that's how you see us? As a fling? A little entertainment while you're stuck in Fairview?"
"No! You know that's not true."
"No? Then explain it to me, because I don't get it. I thought we were building something."
"Building what?" Evie wrapped her arms around her waist. "Pretend for a minute that I tried to stay here. Found a job. I wouldn't want to give up my work for Benny. I like selling sex toys. They make people happy."
"And? When are you going to realize that I don't have a problem with what you do? In fact, I'm rather fond of those fuzzy pink cuffs."
She felt the heat rise in her face. "Me, too," she admitted. "But being involved with a woman like me wouldn't be good for you."
"It's not about women like you, Evie. There are no women like you. There's only you. And I don't want to 'be involved with' you, I want to marry you."....oh, Griff...
So you can (hopefully) see why I say this book is cute, just like many others that I've reviewed. It takes Griff a bit to fold Evie around to realize that her hold-backs are all in her head, but once he accomplishes it, it's wonderful.