Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Posts tagged m/f romance
The Hook Up

UPDATED, JULY 2018: The Hook Up has moved. You can get it for free by signing up for my newsletter.

 

Okay folks, Mondays are hard, so how about a freebie?

The most common thing I saw in reviews for The Pick Up was that people wanted to know more about Kyle's history with Olivia.

Fortunately, I wrote a short story about that very thing! Here's the night that Kyle met Olivia.

Remember the fights? The lost phone? It's all there. But also, there's karaoke! Ice sculptures! Revenge via veggie fries!

Don't worry though, if you haven't read The Pick Up (although you totally should anyway), The Hook Up stands on its own.

And did I mention it's free?

And available right now?

All you have to do is clicky click on the link and grab a copy!

Happy reading!

PS, I've got more Red Creek shorts planned for later this year. Members of my Facebook group always get them first. Join us if that's a thing that sounds like fun!

Vacation Reading List

maldives-1877897_1280 Mr. Temple and I are leaving on a cruise on Friday. We've known each other for 11 years, and we have never taken a vacation like this. We're much more of the 'go somewhere and do stuff' type of traveler. Lounging by the pool will be new for us. Given all that free time, I thought I should stock up on my reading. Thank goodness for ebooks, because my suitcase would definitely be over the weight limit if I had to bring all these in paper. Here are some of the titles I'm bringing.

Single Malt, Layla Reyne

I'm coming to the end of Ty and Zane and the withdrawal is going to be epic. Will Agents Irish and Whiskey be my new go-to crime fighting duo?

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Fast Connection, Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

I've been meaning to read this series for a while, and now Fast Connection just got nominated for a RITA (that's like the Oscars Romancelandia), how bad can it be?

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All I Am, Nicole Helm

It's a Harlequin Super Romance, which makes me think of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysteries, my pre-teen vacation reading staple. Plus, the hero is a damaged war hero who also happens to be a virgin? I'm in.

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All In Fear, Various

I won this on a Twitter giveaway. It's got some of my favourite queer romance authors. They're horror shorts. Sounds like great poolside reading.

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The Room Mate, Kendall Ryan

I mean, the cover does it for me all on its own. I may not be cover model-ready in my bathing suit, but that doesn't mean I can't bring this guy to the pool with me too.

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#tbt Review - Hard Time, Cara McKenna

19091520I read a lot of older books. Not old books. Not Dickens or Melville (not often anyway). Just stuff that's not currently on the new releases page at Amazon. My TBR pile's enormous and I'm not much of a spender, so I'm constantly trying to catch up on stuff I already own. I've never gotten close to clearing the queue. I blame my writing habit for taking up my free time. Also my full time job that limits my available reading hours. So I've decided to introduce #tbt reviews, and maybe you'll find a few oldie but goodie titles to add to your gigantic TBR pile.

So Hard Time. Published in 2014. I actually read this one not long after it came out, but I re-read it recently and I'm inspired to gush.

The first time, I read Hard Time in a day. It was the kind of reading where you open up the first page, and suddenly it's three hours and 100 pages later and dinner's cold and it's bedtime, but you stay up for another hour anyway, even though you'll be wrecked in the morning. And then you read it over breakfast, squeezing every last possible second out of your coffee because you have to leave for work, but the foreplay...

OMG the FOREPLAY!!! He writes her letters!!!

All I can do is watch your mouth. I watch your lips and I think about kissing you, when I'm alone at night...Sometimes I watch your hands...I watch your hands and I imagine them...on me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a second.

The premise: Annie's a librarian recently moved to Michigan. She's in a romantic and sexual dry spell after her last boyfriend turned out to be a nasty drunk who never learned you don't hit girls. Part of her new job involves outreach at the local correctional facility. That's where she meets Eric, an inmate with a learning disability and a penchant for writing the most smoulderingly hot where's-my-chardonnay letters to poor lonely Annie.

Let's be honest. This book should not work. Lonely librarian. Felon with a sensitive side. Sexy pen pals. This book should die a lonely death on Cliche Hill.

But holy moly it works. I've actually even referred to it in other reviews on Goodreads. "For a better book on how to write sexy pen pals, try Hard Time by Cara McKenna." Yeah, you heard me.

So why does it work? A couple things stood out to me on this second read.

1. Eric's a believable as both a bad boy and a romantic

Bad boys are a thing in romance, I get that. But badly written bad boys are a massive pet peeve of mine. Either they're alpha douchebags who are apparently attractive for being uncaring of their woman's feelings but dynamite in bed, or else they're not really bad boys at all, just guys with labels and improbably huge vocabularies*.

Eric's a blue collar (at best) guy, and while his letters to Annie are Amazing with a Capital A, they're remarkably sweet and simple. He knows he's not much of a catch. He gives her an out at the end of every letter. But he has wants, he expresses them. Simply. He's not crude, but he also wouldn't know purple prose if it bit him in his well defined abs. And after he's released, he expresses everything, from his relationship with his family to his desire for Annie, in the same blunt way.  He doesn't want to be anything more than just a man who loves Annie and tries to do right by his family, and that makes him a well realized character in my opinion. Sometimes less is more.

And the other reason this book works is...

2. Annie's a real person with a sex drive

So the premise is that Annie hasn't had any interest in sex or being with a man since she left her previous relationship. That condition clears itself up right quick after Eric starts writing to her. You could argue that this is another example of a damaged woman being healed by the power of her man's magic love wand, but we've already covered that this book isn't going to die on Cliche Hill. And once Annie's sex drive wakes up, it feels fully awake in a human way. She's got some fantasies about dark brooding Eric doing dark brooding things to her, but he's really much happier when things are all sweet and mushy between them, and they have to work to find a balance. She buys her underwear at the Gap. She talks about masturbation. She's just like a real person!!

So lonely librarian. Romantic ex-con. Actual human beings with actual human feelings and preferences. That stuff's like catnip for me. If you missed it the first time around, take this #tbt recommendation and go back and read it now.

Here's some links to help you out:

Amazon

iTunes

*seriously. I tried to read another bad boy romance recently, but he kept saying things like "her mouth was hot and velvet as I caressed her with my tongue. We explored each other lazily" even though he had admitted chapter 1 he could barely read. So he's a drop out with a Regency lexicon? I chucked that offering out the window.