Desert Isle Keeper
Sex, Not Love
I feel a mix of both elation and dread when there is a new Vi Keeland book out. Elation, because I love Vi Keeland and can’t wait to start reading. Dread, because I love Vi Keeland and don’t want to start reading because I know that when I do, I’ll be that much closer to the end – and I don’t want it to end.
Therefore, when I received Sex, Not Love, I stared at it for a good four days before I could bring myself to open it up, and I tried to stay in the moment and savor every minute of it. It is as wonderful as I expected – a sublime blend of subtle humor, breathtaking romance, seriously sexy writing and real emotional depth with a complex, well-conceived plot and unforgettable, compelling characters.
Speaking of compelling characters, I fell in love with Hunter Delucia from his first appearance on the page. He’s a charming and successful architect with a wicked sense of humor and am equally wicked mouth. He meets Natalia (Nat) Rossi at their mutual friends’ wedding – he’s a groomsman and she’s a bridesmaid – and their chemistry is instant, intense and smoking hot. He wants a night with her and pursues her with clever quips and bawdy statements, but Nat blocks his every advance even though she’s insanely attracted to him. He’s adorably arrogant and isn’t used to striking out, but he’s able to leave the wedding with a fan-yourself-worthy kiss and her phone number. Too bad it’s a false number.
Nat was able to resist Hunter, because she’s leery of charming playboys. She’s divorced with sole custody of her teenaged step-daughter, and her ex-husband is in federal prison for perpetrating a very public Ponzi scheme. She’s cynical about love and not looking for anyone who might remind her of her ex. She leaves the wedding thinking she dodged the temptation of Hunter because they live on opposite sides of the country – but she’s wrong.
Hunter and Nat are brought together again because of their friends, and he is even more determined to convince Nat to indulge in a steamy night with him. Therefore, when she brushes him off again and gives him a fake number again, he’s inventive and finagles an endearing way for them to get together. He’ll be living in her city while on a job for the next two months, and he begins a patient and swoon-worthy pursuit. He’s able to finally convince her into his bed by guaranteeing her that their affair will be just fun and sex, assuring her that her heart will be safe.
It’s obvious why Nat is hesitant to be in a relationship, but Hunter’s motivations are not clear, and I was greedy to find out more about him. His past is gradually revealed through the thoughtful use of flashbacks, and they’re the perfect length to keep the reader clamoring for more information and engrossed in the story. They’re insightful and give his character tremendous depth.
While I could wax poetic about Hunter all day, Nat is incredible in her own right. She’s his perfect match – resilient, strong, funny and an amazing stepmother – she challenges him in the best ways possible. Although their relationship is supposed to be a purely physical one, they develop a strong emotional connection along the way, and their journey feels natural, believable and very romantic.
I believe it’s obvious I adored Sex, Not Love. It’s everything I’ve come to expect and love about Vi Keeland’s work.