The Hangover: Wedding Edition?
Sweet Filthy Boy
FROM GOODREADS – One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.
But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.
When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.
Christina Lauren is why, no matter what Diana Gabaldon or Robin Hobb say or even the writing crimes of E.L. James, fan fiction is a good thing. How could anything that provides that lightning strike of inspiration to create not be? Particularly when the result is so very satisfying.
When I read Beautiful Bastard, the writing duo comprised of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who are professionally known as Christina Lauren’s first novel, I thought to myself “Now this is what Fifty Shades should have been”. Whether it was in fact Twilight or FSOG fan fiction notwithstanding, Beautiful Bastard was a wonderfully dirty romp with an unexpectedly sweet love story at its core. Free of some of the more disturbing themes present in FSOG and portraying a romance between two people with a much more straight forward power dynamic I look forward to its inevitable film adaptation for which the rights have already been purchased and is stated to be in development. From that unlikely foundation these two gifted writers have forged an entire wildly successful series that I can tell I will be revisiting in the near future.
Despite my appreciation of the Beautiful Bastard series I wasn’t particularly moved to read the Wild Seasons offerings. It could have simply been a “so many books, so little time” moment or my inner prude may have objected to the title… nah, let’s be real that’s not it. But for whatever reason I didn’t embrace this newest series until I came across it when looking for something to treat the book hangover inspired by the recent binge re-reading I did of every single available book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. These two series might seem like unlikely bedfellows but let me tell you the love scenes in Ms Hoyt’s Regencies are HAWT.
Upon college graduation Mia, Harlow and Lola plan to spend a girl’s weekend in Sin City as a reward for a job well done. Mia is naturally very quiet and reserved, mentally preparing to sacrifice herself and attend business school in Boston come the fall semester. Realizing her domineering father’s dream since her own was demolished when she was involved in a hit and run accident ending her burgeoning dance career before it had even begun. They have barely arrived at their Hangover style suite when across the crowded bar she spies the most attractive man she has ever seen. A silent conversation ensues. Personally, they had me the moment they mentioned his dimples. Really is there anyone alive who can resist them?
Instead of marching across the bar and taking Mr. Man-Candy back to her room for some happy fun time she allows herself to be dragged to the next stop on the Vegas strip pub crawl with her besties. Unsurprisingly after their heated silent exchange Mia can’t sleep, their raucous neighbours across the hall only add to her insomnia. When she decides to rain on their parade she discovers none other than Dimples himself, flirting ensues.
The next morning Ansel aka Dimples finally and rather adorably locates his quarry with his two closest friends in toe. In a different and only mildly unbelievable twist of fate Mia awakens the next with the mother of all hangovers and a wedding band on her left hand. Apparently, in a fit of previously latent spontaneity Mia proposed to Ansel. The folie à deux or in this case à six was the only place I had to tamp down suspension of my disbelief that not one of them would think this was a sketchy idea BUT if we let reality intrude that would be flushing the potential for a very entertaining series right down the drain. So I shushed the inner voice that sounds suspiciously like my mother and read on.
Sweet Filthy Boy was remarkably entertaining, most of all I found Mia’s character to be particularly surprisingly likeable. To write a shy character who is somewhat retiring without crossing the line into insipidity is more difficult than one would assume. Case in point – Isabella Swan, did even the Twi-hards not want to punch her in the face? I could give example upon example as this fawn-like caricature seems to be extremely popular in commercial fiction and rather than coming across as appealing in their vulnerability it ends up inevitably translating to “annoying victim”. However Mia’s reserve and quiet nature seemed completely genuine and appropriate for the story. Her personal difficulties were easy to empathize with, even for an extrovert like myself. Finally a heroine who doesn’t orgasm with just a steamy glance from the love interest. Don’t get me wrong Mia and Ansel tore up the sheets but it wasn’t always effortless, which was a refreshing change from the typical love scenes in romances.
Ultimately, Sweet Filthy Boy was perfect, a fast fun read that made waiting on the sidelines for soccer practice to be over a pleasure rather than a chore. And just in case you are wondering I did pick up Dirty Rowdy Thing immediately to find out how the “playah” Harlow and the Canadian Finn reach their happy ending.
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