Alison Kent has created in her giRL-gEAR series a believable, modern world where men and women behave just a little bit naughtier than they do in real life. While Wicked Games is a smoking read, the book tries to do too much (with its many characters) and too little (with its lack of character details). Ultimately, it ends up being not much more than a sexy read.
gIRL-gEAR VP Kinsey Gray is casually dating Doug Storey, an architect who co-owns a Houston firm (his partner is featured in another one of the gIRL-gEAR stories). Kinsey learns Doug plans to sell his half of the company and move to Denver, where a much larger firm has offered him a sweet deal. With the prospect of his leaving her life, Kinsey realizes Doug means more to her than a casual boyfriend and she decides to try to seduce Doug into staying with the aid of her magnificent body and Scandinavian coloring. Along the way, she discovers she actually loves the guy.
Doug Storey, gorgeous, muscular, smart, and driven, does not want to get serious about anyone, especially since he’s about to leave town. But he can’t resist Kinsey’s seductive ways, and soon has his hands and tongue all over her. Despite his obsession with her, he continues his plans to move, telling both Kinsey and himself that their relationship is just casual. Doug is plagued by a romance gone bad from his past, and part of his drive and current make-up stems from that experience. It’s only after Kinsey asks questions and shows she cares about him that he is able to escape from his demons.
Kinsey and Doug are perfect. Too perfect. Kinsey is especially so: She is stunning, smart, has a great job, a good relationship with her family, and equally wonderful close friends. It was hard to figure out why she would be insecure with Doug for a second, or figure out why they hadn’t gotten to this place in their relationship much earlier. Doug is perfect, too, but he runs away from commitment and has some conflicted feelings about Kinsey. Their sex life together is fantastic, however, and those scenes are certainly attention-grabbing.
The subplots and secondary characters were interestingly enough, but also more detailed than the characterization of the hero and heroine. Isabel, whose story is presumably continued in another gIRL-gEAR installment, is particularly fun, and her love interest also has an unusual background. There were so many fabulous men and women running around, however, it was hard to keep everyone straight, and that took away from the story.
While this is a fun, sexy read that never takes itself too seriously, it lacks substance and any real characterization. Kent’s writing is fast-paced and engaging, and if she had more room to stretch (and finish some of the threads she starts), Wicked Games would have been a more satisfying all-round experience.