Power Play makes two Blazes in a row by Nancy Warren that have left me with silly grins on my face. This is an author who’s fast making her way to my auto-buy list.
Emily Saunders has come to Elk Crossing, Idaho, to be the bridesmaid in a big family wedding, but she has no intention of staying with one of her many annoying relatives – which would involve camping out on the living room floor with a dozen other people. Instead, she’s booked herself into the Elk Crossing Lodge. Everything is going fine until bedbugs are discovered in another hotel room, and her entire floor is evacuated for fumigation. When the hotel assigns her another room, a computer error also assigns that room to sexy cop Jonah Betts, who’s in town as one of the players in an over-thirty hockey tournament.
Neither Emily or Jonah is too keen on sharing a room with a complete stranger, but with every other hotel room in the small town booked, their choices are severely limited. Since neither is willing to give up the room in favor of sleeping in a car, they decide to be adults about the situation and share the room until another opens up. Over the next few days, as Emily and Jonah get to know each other, they find to their surprise that they actually enjoy being roommates. There’s just the pesky little problem of the growing sexual chemistry between them. Should they give in to their attraction, or keep the roommate situation platonic?
In Power Play Nancy Warren takes a familiar setup – the accidentally double-booked room/cabin/house/whatever – and makes it feel fun and refreshing. Unlike other romances I’ve read with this arrangement, both Emily and Jonah quickly decide to make the best of the situation instead of having a long, drawn out fight over who should be forced to leave. So they have to share a room with a stranger? So what? Things could be worse. Frankly, it was a refreshing attitude for the characters to take. The romance that follows is a fun and sexy story of two people developing an unlikely friendship, becoming lovers, and ultimately finding love.
The chemistry between Emily and Jonah is great, and they’re two enjoyable characters to read about. Jonah was especially delightful because he was so laid back and carefree, while still giving off a sexy, confident, I-can-take-charge-when-I-need-to vibe. He may be a cop, but he’s not some macho, gun-toting He-man. Meanwhile, Emily is a woman who may have trouble saying no to her family at times, but is able to stand her ground when it’s really necessary. In addition, a small cast of secondary characters – and a secondary romance – add to the overall air of fun and flirtation.
My enjoyment dimmed a bit when a light suspense subplot was revealed near the end, but for most of the book this was a DIK read for me. I flip-flopped between an A- and a B+ (and really, it’s so close), but ultimately went with a B+ due to the RS subplot. Despite this issue though, I was smiling again by the end – as I had throughout most of the book – and finished the book with that warm and fuzzy feeling restored.
So take my advice and do yourself a favor: Read Power Play and escape reality with a romance that’s got a touch of quirkiness, ample chemistry, and is just plain fun.