Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tempting Tori by N.J. Walters

TITLE: Tempting Tori
AUTHOR: N.J. Walters
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 14k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $2.49

Tori has been the housekeeper for the Courage brothers for a year now, but now that two of them are moving on, she doesn’t know how she’s going to hide the love she has for the one remaining. J.T. is finally ready to share his life with the woman he loves, but when he finds out Tori is leaving, the last thing he is going to do is let her go…

Last week, I reviewed a novella from EC that lacked context for me to care about the characters. While this one is shorter and doesn’t have the suspense element, it’s similar enough for me to feel safe drawing comparisons. Because, on the surface, I shouldn’t have liked this book at all, since I didn’t like the other one. While it will never be a re-read, it manages to engage me long enough to get involved in what was going on, something the other story lacked.

There’s not much of a set-up here. Tori is in love with J.T., without his knowledge, while J.T. is in love with Tori, without hers. Tori can’t hide it anymore at about the same time J.T. is ready to make his move, and voila, sex and an HEA ensue. End of story. The focus is definitely on the sex, and in typical Walters fashion, it’s steady and emotion-filled. The reason it works – where the other one didn’t – is because I have a short period at the front of the story to not only get to know Tori a little bit, but to empathize with her. She’s very much an everywoman – average weight, a little insecure – and it’s easy for the female reader to put herself in her shoes. J.T. also gets a few paragraphs of backstory that make him a highly attractive hero. Getting involved with their passion is almost a done deal.

That being said, it’s an EC quickie. There’s not a lot of story there, and what there is, is there to serve in function with the sex. Walters is also one of the few authors I openly tolerate headhopping from. With her contemporaries, I find myself so wrapped up in her passionate and emotional scenes, I’m willing to overlook the distraction of abrupt POV switches. I won’t remember this story in a month’s time, but in the short time it took me to read it, I got exactly what I wanted – to believe in two likeable characters long enough to tumble with them into their passion. There’s not much more I can ask for.


8/10 – Walters is one of the few authors I’m willing to ignore headhopping for


6/10 – Charming and determined


6/10 – An everywoman vibe adds to the sexual fantasy

Entertainment value

6/10 – Hot, but pure fantasy and sex

World building

6/10 – Enough to keep it from feeling it happens in a vacuum



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