Monday, April 13, 2009

Sugar Shack by Paisley Scott

TITLE: Sugar Shack
AUTHOR: Paisley Scott
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 23k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $3.00

Reporter Catherine Bennett just got a new assignment – a nostalgia piece on Vermont for the holidays. She hasn’t been back in ten years, not since she broke up with her college sweetheart and the love of her life. Back then, she’d wanted to experience the world, but that meant leaving Luke behind. A snowstorm makes it too dangerous to get to her parents’, so she takes an unexpected detour – straight into Luke’s life again…

The snowbound lovers motif is a common one, for very good reason. Few distractions, heightened emotions, it all lends itself to a potentially hot story. It falls apart, however, when one of the two people the reader is forced to deal with on a page-to-page basis isn’t someone likable. That was one of my biggest problems with this short erotic romance. Although the potential was there, my dislike for the heroine made it difficult to want to slog through to the inevitable happy ending.

Catherine is a reporter for a travel magazine, and goes to Vermont for the holiday season under mild duress. She hasn’t been back since dumping the best lover she ever had, and spends the vast majority of her time on the journey back reliving all the fabulous sex she and Luke ever had. Multiple scenes. They’re all right, I suppose, but nothing that really sparked for me. It felt like I was being told about their chemistry rather than really getting to experience it, especially since it seemed all these two ever had in common was sex. I didn’t mind so much once I got to meet Luke, as he’s definitely the more interesting of the pair, but my respect for Catherine plummeted the more she talked. Like her waffling on what exactly she wanted from Luke, whether she was there for more hot sex, to get some closure, or to try again. Or like the fact that she went there specifically for an assignment, had something due within a couple days of arriving, and didn’t take a laptop because hers was “in the shop.” How on earth did she think she was going to get her work done? If her computer was in the shop, what kind of professional doesn’t take a back-up? Luke’s questioning was probably meant to mitigate the effect of it, and I understand the author did this specifically to have the article she writes as a point of conflict for the couple, but it destroyed what credibility she had for me.

The author does create a nice sense of scene with the various snowstorms, but the setting isn’t nearly enough to keep me engaged with the romance. The more Catherine talked, the more I disliked her – like her weird sense of morality about it being okay to sleep with Luke if he has a girlfriend but not if he’s engaged. I certainly don’t mind cheating sex in stories when the characterization demands it, or as a kink, but in this case, it just didn’t work me. In the end, there just wasn’t enough good stuff about this short erotic romance to compel me to care about the HEA.


6/10 – Flashback sex scenes felt like filler, and the lack of anything else until the end made it a little tedious to get through


6/10 – Stalwart and sexy, his biggest flaw is wanting anything to do with the heroine


3/10 – Flaky, unbelievable as a professional, and just generally unlikable

Entertainment value

4/10 – Luke is the best thing about this, but otherwise, fairly mundane

World building

7/10 – The snow in Vermont is the one thing that comes most to life in this



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