One Night Charmer
This is the fourth book in Maisey Yates’ series set in Copper Ridge, Oregon. I found myself interested in the fictional town with its mix of ranchers, fishermen, and a burgeoning tourist business. But for most of the book I despised the hero. While I warmed to the heroine after a rough start, I did not believe in their romance, and don’t plan on reading the remainder of the series.
Ace Thompson owns the most popular bar in Copper Ridge. He typically listens to his customers without offering opinions, but that goes out the window when Sierra West comes into his bar.
Sierra – fresh off a huge fight with her father – gets drunk at Ace’s bar. When her friends abandon her, Ace offers to drive her home and spends most of the drive telling her off. I’ll be the first to admit Sierra’s behavior wasn’t the best, but Ace comes across as arrogant and judgmental, given that he knows virtually nothing about her. He’s also patronizing, calling her “little girl” and “silly rich kid.”
I had major problems right from the opening scenes. I have to like at least one of the main characters to make a romance work, and I didn’t immediately like either Ace or Sierra. I eventually warmed some to Sierra; she’s young, has just learned her father’s not the man she always thought he was, and doesn’t know what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. But at least she does try to improve, whereas Ace continues to act like a jerk for most of the book.
The day after they meet, Ace is convinced to give Sierra a job as a waitress, but continues to treat her horribly, calling her “little girl,” refusing to give her any guidance. But of course, he is attracted to her. And she in turn realizes that fighting with Ace is hot, makes her feel hot. Ace instinctively knows Sierra is hot for him and tells her she’ll have to beg to get him, because he won’t sink so low as to make the first move. For me, that just didn’t sell the romance.
After a few days of waitressing, Sierra begins to help Ace decorate a brewery he’s purchased and helps to plan the menus. During a late night wine tasting they both get a bit drunk and end up having sex in the bar. Sierra’s apologetic, didn’t mean for it to happen, and swears it won’t happen again. Ace, on the other hand, knows he’s forgetting something. Without getting into spoilers, things go even further downhill from this point, and Ace’s behavior continues to be unacceptable.
We are offered reasons for Ace’s behavior, but I didn’t find them good enough. The son of a local pastor, Ace feels he spent years being a moral, good man, only to have his marriage fall apart in a horrible way, leading him to decide to go for a life of debauchery and sin. These days Ace knows how to do three things well: make drinks, drink drinks, and screw. Yes, that’s our hero, with a reputation for sleeping with anything that moves. He has a bedroom above the bar so he doesn’t even need to bring women to his home.
I have a lot of other issues with the book, but for me, the key is I’m just not convinced about the romance. It doesn’t help that at about the three-quarter mark Sierra admits that their bond has nothing to do with friendship but a mutual need to “screw each other’s brains out.” And that’s about the essence of their relationship. So if you like hot sexual chemistry and don’t mind an annoying hero, One Night Charmer might work for you. I can take or leave epilogues, but in this case the view of Sierra and Ace’s life nearly four years into the future was absolutely necessary; without it, I wouldn’t have given the two more than a few months together.