Do you like wild and goofy set-ups? Naked Pursuit has that in spades. At times it seems to work, but sometimes the silliness of it just gets to be too much. This romance is definitely original, but it probably won’t work for everyone.
So, where does med student Stella Holbrook meet the firefighter of her dreams? I’m guessing “experiment medical trial” isn’t the meet-cute most folks would guess, but that’s indeed where they meet. Four volunteers are administered a drug that doesn’t affect them the way it does others in the trial. These four decide they’ve had enough and they bolt from the trial. They enjoy a fun night, eventually splitting into two couples. Somewhere along the way, Stella and firefighter Owen Perkins decide it’s time to get a room.
After a hot and delightful night together, Stella and Owen wake up handcuffed to one another – and with no clue what has happened or how they got together. Apparently, the experimental drug had some effects after all. What would be a frightening morning after for most people turns flirty and comedic for the leads. I’ll admit that the whole “We were on a drug and couldn’t possibly consent to whatever the heck just went on” angle of this story nagged at my mind, but it didn’t seem to phase Owen and Stella very much.
Unsure of what is going on, the two join forces to try sifting through clues to figure out where they’ve been and what has happened – and then there’s matter of them having gone off in Owen’s truck, leaving Stella’s car in some long-forgotten location. Oh, and they’re still handcuffed together with no easy way to get themselves separated.
Even when they’ve sobered up, Stella and Owen are obviously (and believably) attracted to one another, so their conversations did keep me reading. They seem like decent people making the best of a seriously weird situation, and the sexual tension between them made me want for them to connect again now that they really could get to know one another. On top of the strange set-up, it turns out that Owen has some unresolved issues with his family and those get brought into the story, which adds a dramatic touch to the screwball comedy.
At times, I thought this book could really work. The wild night of passion while drugged bothered me, but Stella and Owen do get on a better footing fairly quickly afterward. I enjoyed much of the build-up throughout the middle of the book, but as I reached the end, I started to become quite frustrated. The relationship building that Stella and Owen had going on seems to shift into overdrive and way too much happens way too quickly. If you’re looking for an original setup and can get beyond the pacing problem, this one might be an option for you, but I can’t quite recommend it.