Nerd in Shining Armor
Nerd in Shining Armor was a title I just couldn’t resist. I admit to enjoying the sight of an attractive guy, but looks are nothing without brains, and nerds are among my favorite heroes. In this book, the nerd in question gets stranded on an island with the heroine – and fortunately, plenty of condoms. What follows is a sexy, fun read that more than met my expectations. Although at times the author resorts to stereotyping, this was a book I really enjoyed.
Genevieve Terrence thinks she knows what she’s getting into when she gets into a plane with her sexy boss, Nick. Nick’s a ladies man who is a partner in an up-and-coming Hawaiian software company, and he often takes company secretaries on business trips to Maui that “accidentally” turn into overnight sex-fests. Nick promptly dumps the secretary when they get back to Oahu so he can move onto his next victim. Gen figures she’ll be the one to change all that. When she accompanies him on a Maui trip, she fully intends to sleep with him, but she’s sure her love will be just the thing Nick needs to become a committed, marrying kind of guy. Gen’s a little annoyed to discover that Jackson, the resident computer nerd, will be coming along too, because she’s sure he’ll just get in the way.
When Nick whips out a gun, shoots the radio, and jumps out of the plane with a parachute – leaving them to coast until they run out of gas and plunge to their deaths – Gen suddenly sees Jackson’s value. While he’s never flown a plane, he put in serious time playing with computer flight simulator games. He manages to land the plane in the ocean by a deserted island, and he and Gen swim to shore. Their luck improves still more when Gen spots her little pink suitcase floating in the surf. Not only does it contain sunscreen and energy bars, it also has a healthy supply of condoms. At first Gen doesn’t even dream of using them with Jackson. He’s a nice friend and all, but his clothes are terrible, and he’s probably not much of a lover – after all, he spends all his time in front of a computer screen. But Gen soon notices that he has a great body, and his stubble makes him look a little like a pirate. Before you know it, she’s attracted to him and wants to do something about it.
Jackson, on the other hand, has always been attracted to Gen. She’s beautiful, classy, and nice. He was almost content to admire her from afar, figuring she’d never really notice a geek like him. But now that it’s just the two of them, the odds have really shifted in his favor. The two of them embark on a sexual relationship, but both have doubts about its viability once they reach civilization. Jackson thinks Gen will just dump a guy like him and figures this is his one chance to have fabulous, five-star sex with the object of his affections. But after awhile he’s not sure that’s enough. Gen can feel herself falling for Jackson, but she doesn’t see how a relationship between them can work. She’s sure he’s so wrapped up in his computer work that he’ll never find time for anything else. There’s also an element of danger; Nick had good reason to jump out of that plane, and their dealings with him aren’t quite over.
From start to finish, I found this book to be fun, light reading. Okay, so no one’s going to mistake it for War and Peace, and the characterization isn’t what you’d call “deep.” Gen and Jackson are entertaining, and they are funny. They manage to find plenty to do on their little island while they wait for rescue, and the plot never sags, even though some aspects of it are predictable.
Jackson is a fun nerd hero. He often uses computer terminology to describe ordinary events and people, but he definitely thinks like a guy too. I really enjoy romances where the characters actually sound like young people and speak and think in modern ways. Good “guy think” can be pretty hard to come by, but Thompson really has it down. Jackson sounds like guys I know. I can’t remember ever seeing another hero use the term “morning wood” for his a.m. erection, but Jackson does – just like other guys I know. Genevieve is not usually the kind of heroine I go out of my way to read about; she’s a secretary without a college education or any particular ambitions other than to help her mom out with the rent. Nonetheless, I found her generally likable, and thought she made a great match with Jackson. Her rural background comes in handy when they are stranded without food or water, and her practical survival skills are a good compliment to Jackson’s intellectual prowess.
I’d never read Thompson before, so I was somewhat surprised at the sensuality level. Nerd in Shining Armor is a very frank book, and the love scenes are fun and inventive. While I’ve rated the sensuality at hot, it actually falls somewhere in sensuality no man’s land. The love scenes are very frank, but they aren’t as long and detailed as say, those in a book by Lisa Kleypas or Stephanie Laurens. However, the terminology is just more frank than one would see in a warm book; hence the hot rating. At any rate, fans of steamy love scenes will find a lot to enjoy here.
My one problem with the book concerned Genevieve’s background. She came to Hawaii with her mother and brother when she was fifteen because her mother inherited a pair of Elvis’s boxer shorts (the story of how she came to own them is quite amusing). Until that time, Gen lived in a place called “the hollow” in back woods Tennessee. When Gen talks about her childhood, she manages to touch on every possible stereotype, and I found it all a little hard to believe (especially the bit about how no one in the hollow had electricity and they ran around without shoes except when they went to church). Some of her stories would have been more credible if she’d grown up in the 1930s, but for a modern girl they were outlandish and too stereotypical. Jackson’s background is a lot more realistic – he grew up playing video games and was a little spoiled and selfish as a child.
Still, I was able to overlook this annoyance enough to really enjoy the book. If you’re looking for something fun and sexy, this is the book for you, especially if you have a soft spot for nerds.