Last week on Twitter, someone I follow (and think is kind of hilarious) mentioned that her friend had a new book out, and maybe some of her followers might be interested. – This is not all that unusual, since I follow a lot of authors, and there’s always a lot of cross-promotion on any social media platform these days. I tend to click the link, move it to a new group amongst my Firefox’s 5000 open tabs, and add it to the TBR Mountain when I get a chance. – But I wasn’t doing anything interesting at that exact moment, and I happened to be procrastinating finishing the other 14 books I’m already in the process of reading, so when I clicked the link I stopped to read the description.
I knew right away that the book wasn’t for me, only because it was the third in a series, and I very much dislike coming in when stuff has already happened and feeling like I’ve been missing out on inside jokes the whole time I’m reading. (When I’ve been reading since the beginning of the series and happen upon those inside jokes in sequels myself? It makes my DAY; I love the little nods to past characters, past storylines, past disasters.) So, I clicked back through Amazon to the first book in the series, which JUST HAPPENED to be on sale for the Kindle, and then I obviously did the responsible thing and ignored all the books I am currently reading, promptly bought and read the first book.
Which leads me to Wallbanger, by Alice Clayton, first in the Cocktail series, which I will be buying the rest of very shortly. (I’m supposed to be on book buying hiatus. I’m supposed to be cleaning off my TBR Mountain and emptying shelves. I don’t know why I pretend that that’s ever going to happen, though. Denial.)
Wallbanger is the – apt – nickname of Caroline’s new neighbor. He’s the harem-having, trash-talking, apparently sex God who now shares a bedroom wall with her. He’s the cause of all of her latest headaches – including any that might happen due to frames falling off of her wall and onto her head or from corralling her cat when he’s in heat; he’s the centerpiece of all her juiciest gossip (well, him and the harem, because the ladies deserve some credit, too.); he’s got good taste in music, but apparently very little volume control; and he’s insufferable.
Wallbanger’s actual name is Simon, and Simon is all he’s been made out to be and more – He’s like the Ken to Caroline’s Barbie, in a lot of ways. He comes pre-packaged with two best friends that just happen to perfectly fit with Caroline’s two best friends; he lives right the heck next door, so it isn’t really all that hard to keep running into him; he’s sweet and sarcastic and he gives as good as he gets. There’s just the wee little problem of Caroline having heard him having sex with, you know, three separate women over the course of three separate days. And then there’s Caroline’s own sex life, which is not exactly issue-free. So maybe this Ken & Barbie don’t go together, or maybe they should be friends, or maybe Barbie accidentally sets her in-heat cat on a member of Ken’s harem, because things like that can totally happen in real life, when you’re not plastic dolls.
Point is, watching them try to figure it out was quite enjoyable.
The book was steamy, sure; but it wasn’t all about the steam. Caroline and her two best friends were fun and talked about stuff that didn’t have to do with guys, and she and her boss talked about work and life and even when they talked about Simon they did it in a realistic way that didn’t make me roll my eyes or say “Nope; never gonna happen.” It was funny, and flirty, and raw and real in places that I didn’t expect it to be – some contemporary romance novels have that “I’m going to gloss over anything that might make you uncomfortable” sheen happening, and that Definitely Did Not Happen Here. Which I liked. I liked that Caroline doesn’t always have the right comeback, or that Simon sometimes had to take a break and say “No, but really: what did that mean, because I’m not 100% sure, and I don’t want to screw this up any more than it already is?” because those are things that really happen in relationships, so let me read about people screwing things up by being dopes, and then making up with ridiculously good sex, and imagine that both those things are just as likely to happen in real life.
The first book is still on sale for the Kindle – You think I’m not on to you, Amazon, but I well know your tricky ways – and the following three books in the series, Rusty Nailed, Screwdrivered, & Mai Tai’d Up are also available.