My Favorite Mistake
Stephanie Bond is an old favorite whose recent books I’ve thought were less satisfying than her early work, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought her new Blaze. It’s the sequel to her 2004 Harlequin Temptation, Cover Me. In that book, the heroine received a make-it-yourself dildo kit and found a complete stranger to serve as her model. From there, the story cut to the next morning, after they made the dildo and had wild sex, completely skipping over what should have been the most interesting parts. Avoiding the prequel’s steamiest scene didn’t give me good feelings about this new book, and it certainly didn’t help that her only other Blaze was the dreadful and not-at-all-sexy Two Sexy! Still, I like books told in first person, as this book is, so I bought it anyway. The result was a book that was mostly enjoyable, if not as good as I might have hoped.
Three years ago, Denise Cooke married U.S. Marine Redford DeMoss after a whirlwind courtship in Vegas. They barely knew each other, but Redford affected her like no man ever had. After their marriage, they both returned to their regular lives: Redford serving overseas and Denise working as an investment banker in New York City. Deciding that the marriage was a mistake, Denise arranged for a quick annulment, which Redford didn’t fight. Everything seemed fine until Denise received a notice they were being audited by the IRS. They were married just long enough to have to file a tax return, and now the IRS wants to see them both in person to explain some irregularities on the form.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Denise. She’s never been able to get Redford out of her mind, but she’s currently dating a T.V. producer named Barry, who knows nothing of her first marriage. Their relationship has nowhere near the sparks of her time with Redford, but it’s nice enough. She’s shocked when he proposes. A business trip takes Barry out of town at the same time Redford is scheduled to come to the city for the audit, and Denise figures she can deal with the IRS matter without Barry ever finding out about her “mistake” with Redford.
After leaving the Marines, Redford returned home to Kentucky where he joined the family business, which, naturally, is a horse farm. In a lame misunderstanding, Denise hears him talking about his “girls” and assumes he’s married with children. Of course, he’s talking about the mares. Actually Redford is still single, and when he comes to New York a few days early to spend some time with her, she finds him just as sexy as ever and she responds the same way she always did. But can she bring herself to choose this red-hot American hero over her boring, lame-in-the-sack boyfriend?
Needless to say, the story’s ending is never in doubt for a moment. The handwriting is on the wall from the very beginning, with Denise constantly thinking about how hot Redford was and how her sex life with Barry is sorely lacking. This is a very fluffy story without any drama or conflict that goes down easily enough. Denise is a chatty narrator and the story moves at a somewhat leisurely pace. It takes Redford awhile to arrive on the scene, though she thinks about him a lot, and the ending seems drawn out. But Bond’s voice is strong and as usual, she manages to get off some good lines and there are some humorous scenes. The story may be predictable, but the author manages to keep it enjoyable for the most part.
Denise is a bland heroine, inoffensive but no different from any other neurotic single woman in romanceland. Except for one moment at the end, she’s never exactly stupid, but her bulb’s not burning all that brightly either. The first-person perspective keeps Redford from receiving very much development, but he’s still a great hero, and I considered giving the book a marginal recommendation for him alone. Some of the things he does for her over the course of the story are so great Denise looks like even more of a fool for not grabbing him while she’s got him. There’s also a very nice moment when Denise asks him what he’d like to see in New York. As a Marine who served overseas, he tells her he wants to see Ground Zero. It’s a potent moment in an otherwise fluffy story, and an effective one.
As I suspected going in, this really wasn’t a “red-hot read.” I’d say it’s slightly less steamy than your average Harlequin Temptation Heat. Although Denise briefly masturbates on two occasions, for a Blaze it’s pretty tame – mildly spicy but not hot.
My Favorite Mistake is an amiable piece of fluff. It’s nothing too exciting, but kind of fun while it lasts, with extra points for the hero. Readers looking for a light, humorous read to pass a couple of hours, especially those who enjoy Bond’s voice, will find it here, but readers looking for blazing sensuality will be left unfulfilled.