Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bedside Manner by Sophia Rae

TITLE: Bedside Manner
AUTHOR: Sophia Rae
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 28k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.50

Sara Delaney gets the surprise of her life when the jock from high school shows up in her ER under her care. Her memories of him are mixed. On the one hand, one night of really good sex. On the other, he was a player, and by all indications, looks to still be one. She tries to hold him off, but not having had sex in three years has made her a little desperate. When he pursues her again, she agrees to one night – no dating, no commitment. Too bad one night isn’t enough for either of them…

I think I need a new rule. If there’s a really obvious mistake on the very first page, I need to give myself permission not to finish the book. I’ve tried this before, however, and it hasn’t stuck. The optimist in me is always looking for that truly amazing story, and I convince myself that one little mistake early on might not mean anything. One of these days, I’m going to learn my lesson.

The mistake on the first page of this particular story was this: Hopefully this would be her last exam before she drug herself home and into her king sized bed for the next few hours. I could understand it – even accept it – if the author was opting to write in a more colloquial voice, but she’s not. Sara is an ER nurse and supposedly very intelligent. On top of that, there are no other indications in the prose that this would be a deliberate choice. The error is indicative of others sprinkled throughout the text – mid-drift for midriff, loose for lose, another instance of drug for dragged – and it put me in entirely the wrong mindset very early on.

It doesn’t help that I loathe the hero. Alex Conrad is very much portrayed as a player. Being in his head for long periods of time early in the story only confirms that impression. He sets seducing her as a personal goal, and is so utterly confident in his success that it’s off-putting. I’m not given any reason to really like him until well over halfway through the story, and by then, neither do I care but I just don’t buy it. One night of truly amazing sex and a few days of fantasies is just not enough to convince me that this man who refuses all attachments, all commitments, pursues only superficial relationships, is going to abandon everything he does for love.

Sara’s only marginally better. She shows flashes of really spunky attitude in the beginning when she’s putting Alex off, but as soon as she caves, most of that goes out the window. Oh, and any nurse that has this exchange? “I didn’t bring any condoms.”/ "That's okay. It's a safe time of the month." Is an idiot.

I won’t mention how hard I rolled my eyes at Alex’s so-called grand gesture at the end of the story. Or how Alex is a real estate agent all the way through the story until the end when he magically has a law office. Or the illogical argument that because Sara has a shorter shift one day (10 hours instead of her usual 12), she’s more stressed and tired. After so many other things in the story that took away from my enjoyment, these were only more blips on the radar.


5/10 – Even if there weren’t so many amateurish errors, I wouldn’t enjoy the author’s voice.


2/10 – Jerk. Player. Shallow. I could go on.


4/10 – Infrequent spurts of spunkiness can’t save her more frequent idiocies.

Entertainment value

3/10 – I only enjoyed it in the beginning when she actually showed personality and depth.

World building

4/10 – When the author can’t even remember the hero's in real estate and doesn’t own a law office, you know there’s trouble.



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