Is Lisa Kleypas the best romance writer ever or what?
I'm still dashing tears from my eyes after finishing Smooth Talking Stranger.
In a way this book was a little unusual in that there is no overarching hidden secret, no mystery, no ticking bomb that one character was hiding in a closet. Everybody's cards were on the table pretty early in the story and what we had was a slowly built very believable romance. This book is literally about love. Falling in love, how people love, the shapes and forms of it. As an avid romance reader, works for me. There's still great tension in the story, don't get me wrong, but I really enjoyed the differences in this book from others of its ilk.
Kleypas writes a sexy story with characters who are mature and smart. I think she really shows how smart the heroine is and conveys a convincing sketch of life as a new "mother" (child isn't hers).
Par for the course, Kleypas writes romance and sex together and this book is full of beautifully written steamy scenes.
I was pleasantly surprised by how great Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil were, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. After reading some of the reviews, it seems like there's a bit of disappointment with it, because the first two books set the bar so high.
I have to say, though, that I really enjoyed Smooth Talking Stranger. Yes, it was predictable, and Ella didn't really confront the issues of her past even though they weighed heavily on her throughout the book; but Jack and Ella (along with the adorable baby) and their relationship made this a very good read.
I bought the chemistry between them, and how they were drawn to one another. Their mutual longing and passion (there were some pretty intense and hot scenes) were well-written and seemed believable, and Kleypas ramped up the emotions enough that I found it easy to become invested in their relationship.
So, this book doesn't charter any new territory, and it may fall a little bit short of meeting the high expectations set by the other two books, but even so, Smooth Talking Stranger was a great book. There is a lot of chemistry between the hero and heroine that I found to be believable, as well as some great, fun banter, and a real deep emotional connection between them. All in all, once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.
Ella's younger sister Tara dumps her newborn infant and Ella steps up to do the right thing - loosing her lame-ass boyfriend in the process. It's possible that Jack Travis could be the father so Ella tries to get him to take a paternity test. Even though jack is a rogue and a womanizer, the interest is instant and mutual. So even though Jack is positive he couldn't be the father, he starts hanging around Ella and Luke.
This is typical Lisa Kleypas - a sweet love story, a beautiful morally-correct heroine, a to-die-for hero and a cataclysmic plot. EXCELLENT!
Ella Varner has carved out a niche for herself after cutting off family ties from her mother and sister. After two years of not speaking to either of them, Ella gets a call from her mother that changes her life. Her sister Tara has abandoned her one week old baby and her mother wants Ella to come and get it or she is taking it to social services. Ella doesn't want to lose the the baby so she takes responsibility for him on her shoulders. She is determined to get the baby's father involved, as well. Once she suspects that Jack Travis is the father, she confronts him about it.
After reading Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy and loving both of those books to pieces, I was really looking forward to Smooth Talking Stranger. I'll admit that my expectations were pretty high. Let's be honest here, they were tremendously high! I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like Smooth Talking Stranger, because I did, very much so. I started reading it at 11:30 at night and next thing I knew it was 2:00 in the morning! But, I didn't think it was as good as Blue-Eyed Devil or Sugar Daddy.
Jack Travis is just the type of hero that I love in my romance books. He is strong and smart and confident enough to know what he wants and go after it. He doesn't let a smart woman scare him away. After taking one look at Ella, he knows she is exactly the right woman for him. In no uncertain terms he bulldozes his way into her life, whether she likes it or not. Oh yeah, baby! *waggles eyebrows*
Where the book stumbled a tiny bit for me is with Ella and her problems with her family. In Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy, much of the focus of the book is centered on the heroine and her growth throughout the story. As a matter of fact, Blue-Eyed Devil dealt with spousal abuse very heavily. With Ella, she too suffered from a tramatic childhood. She never really confronts these problems head on and they get pushed to the side as an after thought. Even the resolution of the book was very quickly done and not very satisfactorily at that.
When Ella Varner is left with her sister's newborn baby, she takes matters into her own hands and decides to make the father take responsibility. With a couple possibilities as to who the daddy is, Ella centers on playboy Jack Travis. Jack has a reputation as a ladies man but finally agrees to take a paternity test.
I totally loved the hero and heroine of this book. Jack is the kind of guy any woman would love to meet. He helps Ella with the baby, even when her lousy boyfriend wants nothing to do with the infant. Ella doesn't want to get close to anybody, including Jack or baby Luke. But we know it is a losing cause in both cases. My rating: 4.5 Stars.