As I took my first look at Sexy Lexy, thumbing through the pages and reading the back cover, I expected to find a tiresome bit of fluff with little complexity. The title itself failed to inspire thoughts of profound reading or deep characters. But proving the point once again that we shouldn’t always trust first impressions, especially when trying a new author, I was pleased to find Kate Moore’s latest somewhat thought-provoking and enjoyable. So what if it wasn’t profound reading – it was still an appealing storyline. Yes, it is certainly a lighter romance but one with engaging lead characters and a few unusual plot elements.
Lexy Clark is a fitness guru hiding from her newfound notoriety as the author of Workout Sex, A Girl’s Guide to Home Fitness. Although the bestseller has given her financial independence, it has also made her a national joke – branding her with the nickname Sexy Lexy. Despising the mess her life has become, Lexy decides to adopt usage of her full name, Alexandra Clark, colors her blond hair brown, and begins a new life in the town of Drake’s Point, where she bought an old English inn, the Tooth and Nail, planning to be an innkeeper. Surely in this little town she can escape the ridicule heaped upon her from her infamous book and the resultant inappropriate overtures many men seem to believe she now desires.
Sam Worth is also hiding, but in plain sight. He returned to Drake’s Point to build a library and fight for his deceased mother’s reputation. Sam is the town’s much beloved former rich boy, now a self-made millionaire from the San Francisco area. Most everyone in town knows of Sam’s financial and professional success as well as the tragedies from his past. To a newcomer Sam appears to be just the local handyman and carpenter for the library project and that is an appearance he wants to keep. He tolerates his large local fan club made up of women of all ages and treats them with kindness as they indulge in one of their favorite activities – watching Sam work.
Lexy first encounters Sam as she attempts to convince a thousand-pound bull elk to move from the road so that she can continue to Drake’s Point and begin her new life. Not realizing the extent of the bull elk’s aggressive nature, Lexy is literally saved from the elk’s attentions by Sam Worth when he suddenly appears on the scene and shields her from the elk’s probing. As the elk herd passes close by, Sam and Lexy are both highly aware of their instant physical attraction and Sam unwisely makes a suggestive comment. Lexy, so very tired of hearing such inappropriate statements from men, finds the remark offensive and abruptly leaves Sam standing in the middle of the road – glad to be rid of him and his apparent big ego.
Later that same night, Sam meets Lexy for the second time as she examines a broken bed in one of the inn’s suites. On her very first night at the inn, her greatest fear has been realized – two of her guests had referred to her book and “worked out” on an antique four poster bed. With the bed collapsed on the floor and her book under the mattress, Lexy hastily grabs Workout Sex and shoves it under her bulky sweater, only to look up and discover the man from the elk incident standing in the doorway. Assuming he is the local handyman, she reluctantly allows Sam to fix the bed. He hadn’t intended to deliberately deceive Lexy about his occupation, but decides he likes playing the local boy carpenter for Alexandra Clark – becoming readily available for any repair job at the Tooth and Hound. And Lexy finds herself looking for any needed repairs to the inn and even willing to make up a few just to have the pleasure of Sam’s company once again.
Sparkling with the chemistry between them, Sam and Lexy half-heartedly attempt to fight their desire for one another. Both begrudgingly recognize the other is overly secretive about their past. To Sam, something about Lexy just doesn’t ring true and he realizes she has trouble accepting male attention. What does she attempt to conceal with her long skirts and big sweaters? Conversely, Lexy understands that Sam wants no type of commitment and therefore does not willingly share his thoughts or past with her. How could she guess that, among his many secrets, he was a semi-celebrity as well? Although this extensive discovery process had its moments, I thought many of the situations were clichéd and at times the discourse between Sam and Lexy was rather flat.
As I stated earlier, Sexy Lexy does have some unusual qualities, among them a dyslexic hero and a wild turkey running amok. Observing Sam adjust his life to counter his learning disability was truly touching at times. On the other hand, the mystery sub-plot centering on the new library featured a typical villain whose actions were archaic, contrived, and overly evil. A few secondary characters were promising in the beginning but never really developed enough to add much depth to the story.
Even with these problems, Moore’s book – her first after an absence of several years – was a reasonably entertaining reading experience. The book’s plot line was more involved than I originally perceived, and though the mystery subplot wasn’t all that successful, it never outshone the romance, something I very much appreciated. Sam and Lexy were likable albeit fairly routine characters, but for a lightly pleasant and easygoing read that doesn’t require much of an emotional investment, I can recommend Sexy Lexy. I just wish the title weren’t so ditsy.