Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart

TITLE: Tempting Alibi
AUTHOR: Savannah Stuart
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 19k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.45

Michaela has had the hots for her new neighbor ever since he moved in seven months ago, but she hasn’t said a word to him since welcoming him to the neighborhood. An ex-Marine, Scott now runs his own auto shop and keeps getting a lot of negative attention from the town’s sheriff. When the sheriff shows up and demands Scott provide an alibi for the night before, Michaela – who happens to be there dropping off her car – gives him one. It breaks the ice for Scott and Michaela, but will their disparate backgrounds keep them casual, or do they stand a chance at making it last?

I don’t have high expectations for short contemporaries from Ellora’s Cave. They have a very singular purpose, so I go into the read keeping that in the forefront of my mind. Sometimes, I get pleasantly surprised, while others don’t manage to attain what it sets out to be.

This story falls into the latter category. It’s the story of Michaela and Scott, their mutual attraction, and the quick development of their romance. Michaela is from a wealthy family in town, well-educated with good connections, while Scott grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, enlisted in the Marines as soon as he graduated, and now owns an auto shop. They’re new neighbors, and each has been harboring a crush on the other the entire time without ever speaking after their initial meeting. When the sheriff shows up at Scott’s shop demanding an alibi, Michaela leaps to his defense, which opens up the door to them interacting on a more personal level. That means sex primarily, since Scott’s not really a talker and Michaela seems mostly interested in getting into his pants.

Heat is what drives most of these short contemporaries, but unfortunately, I didn’t feel it in this. The best word I can think of to describe the author’s voice is inoffensive. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but it’s so simple and unassuming that I got bored. Especially since she’s a mild headhopper, too. It might have been helped if I’d cared for either of the two main characters, and though I tried, I just couldn’t. Scott lacks any kind of personality, though again, there’s nothing really wrong with him, while I thought Michaela came across as a prig. When considering how swiftly things get physical with Scott, she thinks, Normally she dated a man for months before thinking about sleeping with him. And even then, she usually got too bored with them before taking that next step. Someone who doesn't even think about having sex for months when dating someone just comes across as uptight to me, an impression that got reinforced throughout the story. There are mild BDSM elements to their sex – she keeps commenting on how commanding Scott is, while he realizes Michaela likes it a little rough – but because of those early impressions of Michaela, they always felt like window dressing, not organic at all to the kind of woman she is. I suppose the argument could be made that she’s coming out of her shell, that Scott does this for her, but that’s an intellectual rationalization made after I’d already finished the story and sat thinking about why it didn’t work for me. I just couldn’t relate to Michaela at all.

So without being able to connect emotionally to either lead and having an author’s voice that is just a little too bland for me, this one was a miss.


7/10 – Mostly inoffensive w/mild headhopping


5/10 – Lacks personality, though there isn’t anything offensive about him


4/10 – I thought her a big of a prig for much of the story and couldn’t relate to her at all

Entertainment value

4/10 – Without being able to connect emotionally to either lead, I was left relying on the hot factor, and the author’s voice is just too bland for me

World building

4/10 – It’s a short contemporary that starts out good but then disintegrates in favor of the sex



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