The cover of Sleep Tight features a picture of a fairy in flight and a tagline that mentions a romance between the Tooth Fairy and the Boogeyman. I went in fully expecting and looking forward to a fun, whimsical read. But the story ranges from aggravating to simply silly, and “fun” is just about the last word to describe it.
The book kicks off with an incredibly annoying Big Misunderstanding that set my teeth on edge. Belle Moody is a down-on-her-luck tooth fairy whose addle-brained aunt blew their savings on bad investments. In order to make some quick cash, Belle agrees to impersonate a European royal for a small-town Texas woman who wants to impress her friends. But then the woman’s grown son overhears her calling home using her real voice without her “European” accent.
Boone Wentworth immediately decides the woman must be a fraud trying to con his poor, sad mother. As a wealthy man, he’s had to deal with lying women trying to rip him off. He recently broke off a relationship with a woman he was about to propose to until he discovered she was planning to marry him for his money and then divorce him soon afterward. Belle tries telling him his mother hired her, but he doesn’t believe her. She’s just another no-good, money-grubbing, lying woman! In order to keep his mother from finding out the truth about her guest, which would break her heart, he sweeps Belle off to his isolated farm.
From here, we enter the same plot that’s been seen in umpteen ranch-set romances over the years. Our “heroine” is a ninny who flounces around the farm pouting, crying and generally acting ditzy. Our “hero” is a charmless jerk who has a chip on his shoulder because of his past experiences with women and treats her like something he just scraped off the bottom of his shoe. He’s mean to her. She stomps around thinking how she hates him…but she also kind of likes him, even though it’s hard for the reader to see any reason why. Oh, that’s right. It’s because she’s stupid.
This part lasts for two-thirds of the book. For too long, the Fantasy elements are merely sprinkles on the top of a cornpone down-on-the-farm plot. Mysterious things are happening out in the world for reasons that are hinted at. Meanwhile, Boone keeps having nightmares, hearing a voice beckoning him to the dark side. He also has things growing out of his back. It’s not a spoiler to reveal he’s turning into a Boogeyman, since the cover reveals it. This does help give some of his actions some justification. I kind of expected a Boogeyman would be a dark hero. But too much of his behavior doesn’t seem motivated by his “dark” side. It seems like he’s acting this way just because he’s a jerk.
In the final third, they finally get off the farm and the paranormal elements leap to the forefront. It’s kind of silly and shallow, and not very well developed, but at least it’s more interesting to read about. The story moves at a decent clip and there are some effective moments – but there are also some lame ones. Having a long section unfold from the perspective of Belle’s young son isn’t the best choice. The story is already too cutesy by far. Having a little kid narrate the action doesn’t help matters.
Had the characters not been so shallow the book would have had the chance of success. But they’re all one-note from top to bottom, and in most cases, that note is an annoying one. The story remains uninteresting for too long, and the characters can’t pick up the slack of engaging the reader. Ultimately, the book finished in a way that made me dislike it much less than I did early on. That’s about the best I can say about it.