Red Shoes and a Diary
I can’t recommend Red Shoes and a Diary. I tried to like it and there were brief glimpses of the book it could’ve been, but those scenes where writing sparkled or the characters were likable were limited to one or two. For the most part I was disgusted by the hero and left underwhelmed by the heroine.
Alex Worth is an undercover DEA agent who’s posing as investment broker Nick Alexander at the Cayo Sueño Resort and trying to infiltrate a drug cartel by offering to launder drug money. He’s got one week to get a break in the case before it’s re-assigned. After a screw-up six weeks earlier that blew his partner’s cover and nearly got Alex killed, his job is on the line, so he really needs to be focused on this assignment. Unfortunately he walks into his hotel suite and is distracted by a pair of sexy red sandals, coordinating lingerie, and a diary filled with erotic fantasies.
The clothes belong to Meghan Elise Foster, a former paralegal and soon-to-be law student on one last vacation before school starts. Accused of being cold and frigid by her ex-boyfriend, she wants to try some of the fantasies she wrote about in her diary. Enter Nick (Alex), who seems to fulfill all her dreams and know exactly what she’s always wanted. What will Meghan do when she finds out that he’s really a cop and that he’s read her diary?
Let’s start with Alex. While his reason for lying to Meghan about who he really was seems acceptable, his keeping and reading her diary is not. It doesn’t matter that he fulfilled her sexual fantasies, it’s still an invasion of privacy. Not to mention the fact that he gives cops everywhere a bad name – by spending more time chasing after her than actually doing his job. It’s a wonder he isn’t fired and little surprise he’s being investigated by internal affairs for the earlier screw-up. The final straw is when he allows Meghan to get involved in his case and puts her in danger. This guy is definitely not hero material.
Then there’s Meghan and her split personality. Is she a prim and proper miss or a wanton sex goddess? That’s not such a big deal; after all, the premise of the story is that she wants to loosen up and find her wild side. It’s her reactions to Alex that get annoying. First she wants no strings sex and then she gets mad that there might not be strings. When she finds out the truth she forgives him a little quickly and seems to understand him, then she throws out an ultimatum. It was that ultimatum that was the final straw for me. To go into more detail would be a spoiler, but suffice to say Meghan has serious issues about Alex’s career choice.
Since this is a Blaze release, a major focus is the sensuality of the novel, and part of that is the diary entries. Mostly they came across as a psychological text on sexual fantasies. The sex scenes were a little hotter, but still pretty tame. The simplistic style of the sex scenes was characteristic of the writing overall. There are several instances during which conversations or internal dialogue came out like misplaced exposition as opposed to part of the story’s natural flow.
I was left underwhelmed and a bit bored by it all. I’ve read worse, but I just couldn’t warm up to these characters and Meghan’s final demand kept me from liking this book even a little.