It’s cold outside. There’s snow on the ground. And my TBR pile is all historicals. I think most of them are set during the winter, or at least the colder months. So I jumped at the chance to read this book, set in Belize, on the beach, and having to do with warmer weather (even if it is set during February, Belize is tropical). Sandy beaches, skimpy clothes and even the cocktail (and the act itself) where the title comes from make for a nice, warm read during the winter months.
Though there are three separate stories in this book, I’m going to keep this a review as a whole, rather than make a distinction between the three stories. They all have the same setting, take place during the same time, and relate because it’s people all at the same wedding wanting a fling in the tropics during winter and end up with a little more.
The three stories revolve around the wedding of Danny and Bella at the Toucan Resort in Ambergris Caye. The first story follows the wedding planner, Sarah McCann and Freeman Lafontaine. Free is trying to save his best friend from making the mistake of marriage and keep living the footloose and fancy free live. Sarah doesn’t like this plan, she sees Danny and Bella as having true, life long love. Sarah and Free are attracted to each other, from the first moment they meet and have a fling in secret. Free keeps trying to stop the wedding and Sarah is working hard to see her clients get their happy week and special day. Though Free does step over the line, majorly, he does redeem himself well.
Perhaps the best part of this first story was the fact that it was about Free’s immature view of how adults behave and Sarah working to show him he was wrong, rather the fact that he’s black and she’s white. The story is sexy and about people, rather than about race. Free would have been better if he wasn’t as immature and single-minded for most of the story, but that was the point of his character and he does get his just desserts in the end.
The second story follows Tamiko Sato and Ricardo Nunez. Tamiko is a fashion model, but because of abuse in her past she’s wary of men. Ric is the resort’s owner and doesn’t like to get involved with guests, but he can’t help being attracted to Tamiko. They both have issues to deal with, one of which being Tamiko is at the wedding as the date of Zane Slade (a famous, but in the closet writer of a James Bond-esque hero) and Ric’s family in Belize. It was a sweet story as Ric helped Tamiko come out of her shell and be a sexy woman. Tamiko also was able to relax and not worry about supporting her family for a week, which she obviously needed.
The story was rather short to deal with the major issues both characters had. It was sexy and both Tamiko and Ric are sweet, sensitive and complex characters, and the length wasn’t enough to make their story seem like it could get the justice it deserved. The last story is different than the first two. Though it takes place over the same time, it’s not as rushed as two strangers are meeting and getting busy before getting to know each other.
The last story is about Bella’s parents, Giovanna and James Moncrieff. They had a sexy and torrid courtship in Italy when they were young, and Giovanna ended up pregnant. With James’ job as a professor, he wasn’t as considerate as he could have been (he really sounded like a selfish jerk) and Giovanna couldn’t see the trouble he was having with his job and supporting his young family and yelled at him alot due to her passionate nature (she did sound like a selfish and immature bitch).
Time has passed and this is the first time they’ve really spent time together in twenty years. The flashbacks to how they fell in love were as fun as seeing these two stubborn, yet very much in love people spar and sizzle across the pages. And the flashbacks are set in sunny and summer time Italy, so the warm weather feeling gets doubled.
All three stories do end with some happiness, though they don’t rush to the alter, which is nice to see. Just people that have a fling and see the possibilities for a future. The shortness of each story did take away from the depth each one probably needed, but the sparks that especially James and Giovanna had made the characters and the setting a fun winter time read.
An exotic wedding turns into an erotic escapade for three unlikely couples who find lust—and maybe even love—on the white sands of Belize. Get ready to get wet!
“War of the Sexes”
When wedding planner Sarah McCann learns that the groom’s best friend, Free Lafontaine, intends to save his pal from the mistake of marriage, it’s an all-out war between the sexes. Turns out, the prize could be much more than either of them expected, and this war just may have two winners.
“Sex With the Proper Stranger”
Model Tamiko Sato comes to the wedding as arm-candy for the groom’s deep-in-the-closet uncle. What’s she to do when resort manager Ric Nuñez proves far too tempting? Ric just might be the man who can help her heal the wounds left by past abuse, and open her heart to love.
Giovanna Moncrieff and her ex, James, mix as well as Italian olive oil and English tonic water. How embarrassing—and exciting!—to find that their passion for each other still burns hot and heavy. Is it possible to find true love the second time around?
Read an excerpt.