Mandi from Smexy Books
recently discovered Megan Hart. In sharing the love, I was inspired to do a re-read of 3 of my favourites of hers and read the other 2 books which had been languishing on my TBR.
Dirty – A (re-read)
This is what happened…
I met him at the candy store.
He turned and smiled at me and I was surprised enough to smile back. This was not a children’s candy store, mind you–this was the kind of place you went to buy expensive imported chocolate truffles for your boss’s wife because you felt guilty for having sex with him when you were both at a conference in Milwaukee.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
I’ve been hit on plenty of times, mostly by men with little finesse who thought what was between their legs made up for what they lacked between their ears.
Sometimes I went home with them anyway, just because it felt good to want and be wanted, even if it was mostly fake.
The problem with wanting is that it’s like pouring water into a vase full of stones. It fills you up before you know it, leaving no room for anything else. I don’t apologize for who I am or what I’ve done in–or out–of bed.
I have my job, my house and my life, and for a long time I haven’t wanted anything else.
Until Dan. Until now. (Goodreads blurb)
Elle Kavanagh has a troubled family past. She takes comfort in numbers and counting and wears only black and white. And she does not do relationships. Then she meets Dan Stewart. And he is sweet and persistent and sexy and hot and persistent. This is a very romantic book (complete with HEA) and the prose is spare and lyrical and evocative and just plain beautiful in places.
“And then the prince went away, Dan, and left the fox bereft.” I looked down at my hands, holding his.
“Would you be sad if I left you?” He asked me, and at first I wasn’t sure how I would reply.
At last the answer came on a breath as tremulous as a breeze wafting curtains from an open window.
“Yes, I would.”
He squeezed my hand. “Then I won’t.”
He pulled me close to him, my head on his shoulder, and for a long time that was all I needed or wanted to do.
Dan smiled at me with lips still moist from mine. I have seen clouds part for the sun. I have seen rainbows. I have seen flowers in the morning, covered in dew, and I have seen sunsets so brilliant with fire they made me want to weep.
And I have seen Dan smile at me, his lips still wet from my kiss, and if I had to choose which sight moved me the most I would say it was that one.
It is a wonderful, moving book and holds up extremely well on a re-read. Still an A for me.
Reason Enough – B+ (re-read)
Elle and Dan haven’t quite achieved their goal of having sex in every room of their new house–but “almost ” Marriage hasn’t dampened their hunger for one another in the least, and their relationship is as hot and passionate as ever. But when Dan brings up the subject of having a baby together, Elle finds herself conflicted. Between her dysfunctional family background and her fear of how a baby might change their life together, Elle’s not sure she’s ready for the big step. Dan doesn’t bring the subject up again, but the issue takes hold in Elle’s mind. And as their frequent lovemaking sizzles with unquenchable desire, Elle’s heart is filled to the brim with love and the longing to give Dan “everything.” (Goodreads blurb)
This Spice Brief is set after Dirty but I actually read it first the first time round. It says something about Ms. Hart’s writing that this 56 page short was able to completely take me in when I hadn’t, at that time, read Dirty. It makes more sense, it is true, when one has read Dirty first. And for those who have, there is a lovely Dan and Elle fix for those who didn’t quite get enough in the novel. My note on re-read? I love Dan. That is all. 🙂
Anne Kinney’s perfect life turns upside-down with the arrival of Alex Kennedy, her husband James’s best friend. Its not until James leads her into an affair with Alex that she realizes her husband might want her to sleep with Alex–because he can’t. (Goodreads blurb)
A sexy book with, again, some lovely writing but the ending wasn’t satisfying for me and it wasn’t poignant either. In the end, I didn’t love the story arc, even though I loved other things about the book. You get the sense early on that there is no happy ending here. However, by the end, I wasn’t confident that James and Anne were okay and Alex’s motivations were a bit of a mystery still. There is a Spice Brief which tells the story from Alex’s POV and I might pick it up one of these days. I’m curious to know Alex better but I’m not sure it can make me feel differently about the story overall.
Naked – C-
No strings. No regrets. And no going back.
I didn’t think he wanted me. And I wasn’t about to get involved with him, not after what I’d heard. Sure, Alex Kennedy was tall, dark and unbearably hot, but I’ve been burned before. When I solicited him to model for my erotic photography book, I didn’t expect such a heated, passionate photo session. And now that we’ve crossed that line, our bodies aren’t the only things that have been exposed.
But I can’t give my heart to a man who’s so… unconventional. His last sexual relationship was with a married couple. It’s enough that my ex-fiancé preferred men, I can’t take that chance again no matter how much my body thrives on Alex’s touch. I can’t risk it, but I can’t resist it, either.
Alex can be very convincing when he wants something.
And he wants me. (Goodreads blurb)
The blurb, unfortunately, isn’t very accurate. Plenty of time and plenty of sex have passed since the events of Tempted and Alex and Olivia get together more as a result of him renting the downstairs flat in the building she owns than anything else.
I spent most of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop. When it kind of did, there were only 2 or 3 pages left and not enough time for me to feel that the HEA was secure. All the time they were getting together, there was a tone to the prose which made me feel like there was sword hanging over their heads and it was going to cut deep any second. I can’t say I was convinced Olivia and Alex would last and I found the ending unsatisfying. I still found Alex largely a mystery, notwithstanding he’s been a major character in 2 books now (that I’ve read). There seemed to be too many things left unsaid and unresolved. There were some lovely passages, but the story left me wanting more (and not in a good way).
Stranger – B+ (re-read)
Funeral director Grace Frawley faces loss each day, so she has decided that paying strangers for sex would be the best way to save herself from experiencing loss herself. Then she meets Sam, and Grace wonders if she can go back to the impersonal. (Goodreads blurb)
This was another re-read. Sam is the brother of Dirty‘s Dan Stewart. He’s been in New York but comes back to town when their father dies. Grace’s job means that she sees people dealing with loss and grief all the time. As a result, she’s so frightened of being bereft, she doesn’t venture into relationship territory at all. And then she meets Sam. Like Dan, he’s persistent. And charming and sexy and hot.
What is unusual about this book is that much of the sex in it is not actually between Grace and Sam – a lot of it is between Grace and Jack. We first met Jack in Dirty when he’s involved in a threesome with Dan and Elle. Inspired by those events, Jack has taken up work as an escort and that is how Grace meets him. It sounds strange, but it works. Trust me.
This book was excellent right up until the end, where there wasn’t enough to satisfy me about how Grace and Sam were going to work out their HEA. I needed at least another conversation – the ending was just too abrupt to satisfy. Sam’s “issues” came up late in the book and I can’t say that I truly understood them or what would happen in the future.
Otherwise, it was really good and beautifully written. The scene where Grace is providing funeral services to a couple who has just lost their young son had me in tears.
awesome. I'm starting Stranger this weekend. I LOVE the quotes you picked from Dirty and I NEED to read that spice brief. Squee!!!I just love her voice. I'm interested to read the others – many have given them similar grades as you…
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What a fantastic post! I LOVED the quotes you chose for Dirty. So excited to see other Megan Hart fans out there! Her beautiful writing voice pulls me in instantly along with her realistic dialogue. The first book that I read was Dirty and it still remains my favorite book of hers along with Broken. I agree with you on Stranger, Tempted and Naked while the writing and characters were compelling I felt like I was missing something by the end of those stories. I loved the character of Alex and you're right even after 2 books he's still somewhat of a mystery. Switched was my least favorite book of hers and I still have Deeper to read which is written in third person rather than her usual first person narratives. Have you read Switched or Deeper?Thanks to your post I think a reread of Dirty is in order ;)~Negine
Ugh..I meant "Switch"
@Mandi I think you will like Stranger – there are some similarities to Dirty in tone and there is an HEA. Not quite as good as Dirty IMO, but very very good.
@Negine Thx for visiting! :)I haven't read Switch or Deeper and I couldn't bring myself to re-read Broken during this 'glom'. Broken is a beautiful book and very moving but it just wrecked me to read it and I wasn't up for it again.I tweeted the author the other day to find out whether she is planning on writing Jack's book and her response was "someday!". I'd certainly like to read that one.I've heard good things about Deeper but I'm not sure if there's an HEA and I didn't want to go there without knowing that – if you read it, come back and let me know what you think. 🙂