This spicy box set contains three novellas by author Adriana Anders, and with wounded heroes, virgin heroes, and excellent sex scenes, they’re well worth a read.
Loving the Secret Billionaire
City Council candidate and preschool teacher Veronica Cruz is fighting an uphill battle against an established, affluent candidate when she knocks on reclusive Zach Hubler’s door. Veronica has no idea that Zach is an extremely wealthy hacker, and she’s taken aback when he throws his assets behind her campaign without being asked. I loved Veronica’s courage and the realism of her shoestring campaign to represent ordinary lower-income people – as she tells Zach, “People whose parents worked two jobs but still couldn’t afford preschool or health insurance.”.She and Zach have credible chemistry despite the novella’s short time frame. Unfortunately, Veronica’s reactions to Zach’s unsolicited support serve the plot more than her character. Also, Zach is a younger-than-the-heroine billionaire virgin white-hat hacker who is a recluse and also blind. Just one or two of those would require a full novella to flesh out, and packing all of them in meant all were underdeveloped.
Loving the Wounded Warrior
O’Neal Jones sees a man pushing an empty wheelchair up a mountain road. The journalist in her has to know more – and that’s before she realizes that the man is Kurt Anderson, her high school crush and her brother’s best friend. So… I despised O’Neal as a first name, but that’s not necessarily going to bother everyone. I appreciated that the author incorporates O’Neal’s aggressive journalistic questioning as more than just an inciting event, showing us how it has both negative and positive effects on her relationship with Kurt. Kurt, a veteran who lost the colleague who used the wheelchair to veteran suicide, is complex and damaged. While I thought this was explored sensitively, he is someone who will definitely need therapy going forward. Kurt is the second virgin hero of this set, and this time I felt it was more forced (it’s one thing for a recluse; it’s another for a man with an ex-fiancée). Still, I appreciate that the author makes him thoughtful about his first experience, not just assuming he’d be mindlessly ready, and that she takes into consideration the logistics of hooking up in a mountainside tent.
Loving the Mountain Man
This was my favorite story in the set. Christa Evans ends up snowbound with Micah Graham in his mountain home after a car accident on black ice. Micah is another recovering veteran hero, and while he has a prosthetic leg, it’s his emotional overload around people that has led him to live alone. I liked how even though he and Christa are together for a limited time, the author makes it feel like their rapport builds slowly, and their connection is strong. The physical after-effects of Christa’s accident are painfully vivid. Micah is not a virgin, but the story talks about sex with Christa (who has an IUD) being his first experience without a condom, which I think is an interesting modern milestone. Christa is written in a way that implies plus-size. Oh, and Micah has two adorable dogs. It’s not a big thing for the plot but I think it needs to be mentioned.
The overall verdict – if you’re looking for heat without grimness or darkness, this is a great pick. All three have great sex scenes and solid plots. Just be clear that these are novellas – the $7.99 price tag implies (IMO) three full-length books, which these aren’t.
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On my TBR!
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I have asked for that for Christmas!
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