Talking About Sex...
Vicki Lewis Thompson is the only Blaze author who’s never disappointed me. While none of her previous Blazes have been keepers for me, they’ve all lived up to their billing as fun, red-hot reads much better than most. It’s been two years since her last one, and with the recent success of her single-title Nerd books, I wasn’t sure if she’d even be writing any more Blazes. Luckily, she’s back, and for the most part, Talking About Sex… lived up to my expectations.
Jess Harkins and Katie Peterson were high school sweethearts who dated their senior year. But when Katie wanted him to take her virginity on prom night, he refused. She felt rejected, and their relationship came to an abrupt end.
Thirteen years later, Katie is known to Phoenix radio listeners as “Crazy Katie,” host of the late-night show “Talking About Sex.” When construction begins on a high-rise right next to the radio station, she uses her show to fight the project, knowing the station’s building will be targeted next. She starts doing segments about how men so determined to build such big structures must be compensating for something, making none-too-subtle digs at the people responsible for the eyesore next door.
The contractor heading the construction project is none other than Jess, who’s far from pleased about her personal attacks. He goes to confront her, and they discover the feelings between them are still there. Katie is willing to pick up where they left off, but she’s not going to give him a chance to hurt her again. This time, she’s in charge. If he wants to have sex with her, and he definitely does, he’s going to have to follow her lead, if she doesn’t drive him out of his mind with lust first.
Admittedly, the premise needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Two 30-year-olds working through their high school issues seemed a little juvenile. The same goes for some of Katie’s early behavior, which is supposed to be spunky but verged on childish. There are a few bumps along the way, and some of the details also don’t hold up to much scrutiny. Jess’s father was a professional thief, and Jess remembers a moment from his childhood when his mother refused to let him keep a portable DVD player his father gave him. The problem is, given Jess’s age, it seemed unlikely portable DVD players even existed at the time the incident would have occurred.
Those are fairly minor points, though, and overall this is exactly the kind of Blaze I enjoy and too seldom get in return for my money. In some books in the line, there isn’t much heat – or the sex feels forced and perfunctory. That isn’t a problem here. The sensuality level is very high and the sex is copious. Seriously, it probably should start to get boring after a while, yet it doesn’t. It works because the author knows how to deliver a sensual scene, and she convincingly builds a love story that progresses through multiple sexual encounters, as deeper feelings emerge.
There’s little external plot here. As with her other Blazes, Thompson keeps the focus on these two people, their relationship, and the abundant sex they enjoy. Yes, I said enjoy. Katie is a confident, assertive woman with little baggage and no hang-ups. She knows what she wants and has few qualms about going after it. The sex really is red-hot and often daring. An early scene features Katie pleasuring herself with the thick end of a candle while Jess watches, something you don’t read about everyday (well, at least I don’t.) The characters seem to be having fun, which makes it more enjoyable to read about as a reader. I liked the characters enough that not even a last minute misunderstanding was enough to derail the story for me. I cared enough to want them to get past it and to their happy ending, which is sweet.
Talking About Sex… isn’t a perfect book, but it gets it right in the ways that matter. The sex is hot, the characters are likable, and the story is fun, resulting in a solid “B” read. Readers disappointed by too many tepid Blazes should find this one one that actually delivers a red-hot read.