All Tied Up
Alison Kent’s new release, All Tied Up, is the first in a trilogy about six college friends who have started up a now-successful urban-youth fashion e-tail business called gIRL-gEAR, INC. This first installment focuses on “word girl” editor Macy Webb, and also on her best friend and “graphics girl” artist Lauren Hollister. It’s hot, sexy and still manages to involve the reader emotionally – a winning combination.
Macy Webb is the eternal child, and her goal is to have fun and never grow up. Her job in the company is to write a column focusing on party games for adults, games that she invents to get men and women relating to each other in a social atmosphere. Some of her games are sexy, and some – like the one she’s just invented – are meant to reveal more than just the physical secrets each player holds. But her own game backfires when her roommate Lauren and Lauren’s longtime boyfriend Anton decide to move in together, and are consequently forced to confront the true nature of their relationship. And as for herself, well, Macy never meant to play. But when last-minute problems keep two players away from game night, and Anton shows up with Macy’s nemesis-dream man, corporate lawyer Leo Redding III, Macy finds out that she’s bitten off more than she can chew. And somehow her game doesn’t seem quite as good an idea.
Leo is an all-business type of guy, and yet he finds himself dragged off to some silly game night, only to find that his hostess is a woman he’s already dismissed as not his type. But when a warm-up game finds her in his lap, he decides he may have to re-think his position – just as soon as he can get blood back to his brain. Luckily, the game she’s invented will throw them together constantly over the next month, and require him to find out just what makes her tick. But he’s no more prepared for what he finds than he is for what he feels for her. His type or not, this wild child has met her match.
The characterizations were nicely done, especially given the short format, and Leo and Macy were both very likable, although there are moments when the reader may not be too sure about Leo. Likewise, Lauren and Anton are a generally likable pair, though Anton too has moments when you might like to give him a swift kick. The one disappointment I had with this book was that Lauren and Anton didn’t really get the resolution they were searching for. Although this wasn’t strictly their tale, and their story will almost certainly continue in the second book, and I liked these characters enough to want to see them be able to work things through. As it is, it seems like they have barely scraped the surface of their complex relationship.
The plot was pretty good, although perhaps some suspension of disbelief is required, especially when Macy finds herself saying “yes” to the idea of Leo moving in as a temporary replacement roommate after Lauren decides to take the co-habitation plunge with Anton. Still, this very much character-driven story is satisfying (at least in terms of Leo and Macy), despite the unlikelihood of some of the events entailed, and the revelations that the plot-central game brings about are poignant and telling.
All in all, this book combines strong characters, a satisfying plot, and plenty of anticipation for the rest of the series. Oh, and some very hot sex. I wouldn’t recommend this one for those of you who prefer the “kisses” end of the sensuality spectrum, but for those of you who like their romance spicy and hot, I recommend that you check this out. There are certainly worse ways to spend 200 steamy pages.