The Man Tamer
In my opinion, reading cannot be all angst, deeply emotional or riveting stories; the equivalent of meat and potatoes in a diet. Once in a while it is nice to pick up the book equivalent of a chocolate bar. The Man Tamer falls into that group of light romances with some humor that are satisfying if not full of lots of depth.
Rachel Westover writes a column called The Man Tamerfor Belinda Magazine. Rachel has a degree in Psychology and advises women on the rules to “train” a man according to established punishment/reward principles. Rachel wants to have her own TV show and enters into a bet with her employer, Denton Morrison: If she can tame Garrett “Wild Man” Kelly, a lacrosse player newly arrived in Dallas, she will get her show. Denton is a rich guy who owns the magazine, the lacrosse team and the Dallas Mavericks – think the often annoying Mark Cuban here – and I really looked forward to his getting his comeuppance when he tries to manipulate Garrett and Rachel.
Rachel and Garrett Kelly are immediately attracted to each other after he licks the chocolate off her fingers at a party. While this might have seemed gross, it was actually quite sexy and established the immediate sexual attraction between this pair. Despite the attraction, they both feel like the other is not their type. Rachel imagines that she can tame Garrett, have a hot sexual affair, and emerge unscathed with her TV show – without Garrett finding out about the bet. Of course, when emotions become involved, her bet takes on a dark edge that could easily blow up in her face.
Garrett Kelly is not really a “wild man,” the nickname was thought up by Denton to publicize his new indoor lacrosse team. Garrett is a charming, gorgeous Aussie who quickly realizes that Rachel is a lot more complicated then she seems at first glance – plus the sex is great! To his shock he falls in love for the first time. As far as training, Garrett sees Rachel’s “suggestions” as the normal give and take in a loving relationship: He wears the clothes she chooses and cleans up his apartment for her and she learns to play poker and enjoy lacrosse for him.
The bet begins to trouble Rachel as she finds herself falling in love with Garrett and also discovering that her carefully thought out training techniques do not always work in the real world. Especially as her best friend Moira finds the rules not particularly helpful in her relationship with an accountant.
This is one of those books that has a familiar plot, but Myers gives it some nice twists. Rachel and Garrett are likable people, and I loved their often witty banter and the way their relationship developed. Yes, they have very hot sex but the attraction between them outside the bedroom was obvious and I believed that they truly loved each other.
I enjoyed the sex scenes between Rachel and Garrett but ultimately there were a few too many, which detracted from the narrative flow. By then I wanted them to get on with it and return to the story. There were also a few loose ends that were not satisfactorily wrapped up, especially Rachel’s relationship to her sister Rhonda and the underlying tension one sensed from Rhonda at a charity event. Developing this sub-plot would have enriched the story.
I really enjoyed the Dallas setting and how well the setting worked. I lived in Dallas for thiry years and Myers presented a city I recognize and love. Too often a locale is picked by an author and is totally unrecognizable by residents of the area – especially those that are set in Texas – thank goodness no one showed up with a large ten gallon Stetson hat. Myers also kept the Aussie dialogue to a minimum; too much dialect can pull me out of a story. Ultimately, The Man Tamer was a fun read.