Short, Sweet, and Steamy: Three Novellas to Try This Month

My brain’s overflowing at the moment. It’s difficult to concentrate, so starting a new book can be a bad idea. But that’s why novellas were invented!

Her Perfect Game is the second book in Shannyn Schroeder’s sexy, geeky New Adult trilogy about three friends who end up separated for spring break. After dropping out of college, Charlie makes up an excuse not to join her friends in South Padre Island, Texas, instead attending a gamer con and hackfest in hopes of securing a cybertech job sans college degree. To make her life more miserable, she runs into Jonah, the guy who walked away from her years ago – and the attraction is still as strong as ever.

Okay, first: YAY GAMER GIRL! I’m not a gamer myself (though I do live with one) and I love that Charlie is into games and the culture enough she has some very definite opinions on sexism in video games, and she’s not afraid to express them. She’s intelligent and snarky to boot, and it’s easy to understand her self-doubting attitude. Dropping out of college has to be hell on the ego.

Jonah’s got his reasons for why he left Charlie without a word, and I thought they were completely believable. I just wish there’d been a bit more exploration into the circumstances around his choices – there was a lot going on in their lives at the time, and while it’s addressed, I didn’t feel it had much bearing on the present.

Their chemistry is sweet and heady, but overall it’s a little lower in heat level than in Her Best Shot (book one). Charlie and Jonah have a history, and sometimes it rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. A fun, sexy addition to the series, and I can’t wait for the last book (and I may have already read it. Maybe. Probably.)

I’ve read a few of the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin, and for the most part, they’ve been good to me. 10 Rules to Sex Up a Blind Date by Heidi Rice was another one that hit the mark. Tally’s been on a string of bad dates, and really, all she wants is to get laid. Enter Brent, billionaire tech genius and all around ruggedly handsome alpha male. Brent wants nothing to do with women – unless they’re walking willingly to his bed. One insanely hot night later, Tally’s relieved she’s broken her dry spell in such an epic fashion, but Brent wants more. And he’s got plans on how to convince Tally to take a chance on him.

Most of the action takes place over the course of one evening. Like Jonah, Tally’s reasons for not getting involved are entirely believable, as were Brent’s. Given their hang-ups, one night together should be perfect. But this is where the story runs a little too close to insta-love. While I appreciated that there was more to Brent than what Tally saw (and thought she knew), his emotional reaction to her felt…off. There wasn’t enough build up to it ahead of time for me to buy it. I’m glad the story ended where it did, because to go any farther likely would have killed the enjoyment for me.

This week’s Smex Scene Sunday over at Smexy Books featured a particularly dirty scene from Rhyannon Byrd’s Making His Move. So of course I had to buy it. Researcher Sophie’s been lusting after head of security Chris for months, ever since he started at the lab she works at. But she’s been firmly placed in the friend slot – or so she thinks. Turns out Chris has been waiting for his chance with her, and when a miscommunication gives him his opening, he charges right through.

Holy shit was this story steamy. Seriously. Don’t read this if someone *cough cough BF cough cough* is hovering over your shoulder. Chris thinks he’s got one night to convince Sophie to be with him; Sophie thinks it’s one night only. There’s sex. Hooboy is there sex. Like Blind Date, most of the action takes place over the course of one night. There’s a lot of speculation about whether tiny Sophie can handle Chris’, um, size. Which is apparently quite large. And in retrospect, that makes me laugh, but when I was reading it, I was too absorbed to pay much attention.

See, despite all the sex, the story was actually quite sweet. Chris knows he’s not as smart as Sophie. He doesn’t care. They’ve spent the last couple of months getting to know each other as friends. They talk about football and movies and surfing. There is absolutely, most definitely, a solid friendship here, and it feeds into their physical attraction really well. This is not just sex for them. It’s the step both have hesitated over, lending it a weight it deserves. Even with the size issues, I loved every minute of this story, and I’ll definitely check out her backlist.

Got novella recommendations? Send ’em my way!

Copies of Her Perfect Game and 10 Rules to Sex Up a Blind Date provided by the publisher(s) in exchange for an honest review.

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