Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: The Great Outdoors by Becky Moore

       Title: The Great Outdoors
               (1 Night Stand Series)
       Author: Becky Moore
       Release Date: March 18, 2012
       Publisher: Decadent Publishing
       Category: Contemporary Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Ms. Moore’s Website

Tallulah Murphy is a busy woman. As the newly appointed Director of Education for the Atlanta Art Museum, she has a thousand and one things to do on any given day. Dating is not high on that list; in fact, it’s not even on the radar.

Three hundred miles away in Charleston, South Carolina, Lieutenant Mitchell Weaver is gearing up for his promotion to be the youngest police chief in the city’s history. And unfortunately, as a prominent city official with all eyes watching his every move, a quality date seems untenable. But when good friends and good fortune set Tallulah and Mitch on a fateful adventure with Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service, 1Night Stand, they may find a little matchmaking magic can reset their spirits of adventure and open their hearts and minds to the possibility of love.

Lou’s e-mail dinged on June fourth. She popped the last bite of bagel into her mouth and sprinted back to the desk in the hotel room where she’d stayed the night. She’d been useless at work the day before, spending her lunch hour at REI grabbing a couple of last minute camping things. Too excited to relax anyway, she had driven the hour and a half to Gibsonville.
Her pulse raced at the handsome smile beaming at her from Mitch’s official Charleston Police Department portrait. He wore a dark uniform, sleek and powerful, coupled with the hat pulled down low on his brow. Black hair peeked out from under it, and pale blue eyes caught and held her immobile for a moment. He was incredibly appealing. She ran a finger across the monitor, along his strong jawline, and glanced at the words typed under the picture. Detective Mitchell Weaver. Oh, boy.
A second photo of him showed more of his personality. He stood on the bank of a rocky riverbed, soaking wet, holding a paddle in one hand while the other rested casually on his hip, and a bright orange kayak sat on the bank behind him. His hair stuck up in a thousand directions, like he’d run his fingers through it. His wet bathing suit and open life vest revealed a beautifully-chiseled torso and heavily muscled shoulders and arms. The artist in her appreciated the way he was put together; the woman in her couldn’t wait to get hold of him in person.
She forwarded the message to Allison then headed out for her adventure.
Across town, at another drive-by hotel, Mitch stared at his own screen, poleaxed by the woman smiling out at him. Tallulah Murphy was sinfully beautiful. Shit, 1Night Stand is setting me up with a centerfold. The first photograph showed Tallulah at a formal event, the caption noting an art auction held the month before. Her slinky lavender evening gown showcased a curvy, knockout figure, and her long auburn hair rested against her bare, shapely shoulders, showing off toned, lightly tanned arms. He’d buy whatever she auctioned, for sure.
He laughed with delight at the second photo. She stood in a group of women at the finish line of a mini-triathlon that he used to compete in at Stone Mountain, Georgia. They were laughing and dripping wet, and he noticed another man in the photo off in the corner holding a big Gatorade cooler upside down. Lou’s hair was pulled back, her skin flushed and glowing from the exercise. A purple sports bra and blue biking shorts showed off a strong, sexy body. He laid back on the bed and closed his eyes. Lord, she had beauty and brains, and seemed to be a healthy, fun outdoorswoman. I’m a goner.

Dialogue Highlight:
Half an hour later, she pulled into a parking space in the National Park lot. Mitch smiled and threw up his hand in greeting. She parked the car and leaned her arms across the steering wheel to watch him, taking a moment to get her bearings and be certain she didn’t have any final misgivings about meeting him. He leaned against the grill of his truck, a backpack on the ground next to his feet. With a genteel nod, he took off his sunglasses and held his hands out to the sides of his hips, palms down, obviously trying to appear as nonthreatening as possible. He met her eyes and waited for her to make the next move.
When she opened the door, he relaxed. It struck her that he seemed nervous and maybe a little wary about her, too—which helped her final decision.
“Hey, I’m Mitchell,” he said quietly.
She climbed out with a smile. Goosebumps broke out from the top of her head down to her boot-covered toes, everything in between snapping to life. That is one potent voice.
“I’m Tallulah. But you can call me Lou. Everybody does.”
After a moment, when he made no move toward her, she stepped around the car door she’d been using as a shield, laughing self-consciously, and crossed to where he waited. “Um, I haven’t ever had an internet date before. Sorry to be a little squirrelly.” She offered her hand.
“Don’t be sorry,” he said, closing long, strong, gentle fingers around hers. “You’re smart to be safe. This is my first internet date, too. Actually, this is my first date in about eight years.”
She could only stare, unable to wrap her head around his statement. And the longer she gawked at him, the more visibly self-conscious he became. Holy shit, eight years! There stood an extremely handsome man, and no way could he possibly have escaped some woman’s clutches for that long.
“Did you say eight years?” She tried to be sensitive. He cleared his throat and gazed out at the mountain. After a moment he hitched his overstuffed backpack onto his shoulder and nodded toward her trunk, trying to change the subject.
“Yes, ma’am. I’ve been divorced for three years, but was married five before that.”
“Oh, well, I guess that makes sense. So this is your first date since…um….”
“Since my divorce.” He smiled a little nervously and a charming blush crept up the front of his throat into his cheeks. “That okay with you?”
“Well, of course it is. It just, you know, surprised me.”
He nodded and swiped his hand down the back of his neck. “Can I help with your bag?”
She popped the trunk and let him lift her heavy backpack. He held it and she slipped her arms into the straps, letting go once she had the waist strapped buckled. “You’re, uh, you know…a nice looking guy. Is there some reason you don’t date?” If he had some type of weird fetish, or if he was crazy and unbalanced, she was not going into the mountains with him.
“Believe me, I don’t normally share that fact. Not that I’m embarrassed, mind you. It’s just that most folks have your reaction. I only mentioned it to put you at ease. And I love women, by the way. My divorce was messy and made me kind of numb for a while.” He cleared his throat paused for a moment. “I don’t want to worry you. I know I’m a cop, but I’m a stranger…well, for now. If you want to back out, I totally understand.”
Lou considered his offer while he stood patiently with a gentle smile on his full, sensual red lips. His eyes were kind, and didn’t stray crudely down her body; he seemed like he would accept whatever decision she made. “Okay,” she said, nodding. “Let’s hit the trail.”

I have not had the opportunity to read Ms. Moore before. As a lover of the 1 Night Stand Series and knowing how good it usually is, I knew this would be a good opportunity to find out about a new-to-me author. I was not disappointed. Overall, this story is a pretty good read. I had a couple of issues, but still ultimately enjoyed my time spent reading.
Tallulah, or Lou as everyone calls her, was in a relationship for about a year when both she and her boyfriend came up for the same promotion. When she was promoted and he was not, their relationship ended abruptly with many scars. Not one to admit defeat easily, her ex did some pretty under-handed things in an attempt to sabotage Lou in her new position. Luckily the plot did not work, but it did leave Lou hurt and bruised. With the shove of a friend, she finds herself signed up with Madame Eve’s prestigious service.
Mitchell is also smarting from a bad relationship. His situation is a bit different because he was married for 5 years. But his wife was a tramp and he couldn’t see the truth for a very long time. Three years after their divorce and one last alimony check later, his ex in now getting remarried. To celebrate, his friend gives him the nudge needed and signs him up for a 1 Night Stand as a celebratory gift. Hesitant but still excited, Mitch looks forward to his adventure. If nothing else, at least he will get a long overdue vacation from the demands of his job.
I started out really liking Lou and Mitch. They each survived a bad break-up and not only came out of it on top, but both ended up in higher positions within their places of employment. Going in to the date, both were apprehensive as would be expected. But caution is gone with the wind in no time flat and the scorching attraction cannot be denied for any length of time. I think this is where I had the problem. Knowing the series, I knew their consummation was inevitable, but I felt like giving in so fast was a bit out of character for these two jaded individuals. But who knows. When you meet the right person, I suppose it is what it is. And Madame Eve always matches superbly so their actions, while somewhat off for the people they are described as, actually coincide with the series. My other issue is that the story cuts out really quick. Not unexpected for a novella, but given the short time frame and the dramatic life changes made for Mitch and Lou to be together, I think a longer length of time ended as an epilogue would have made more sense. Perhaps not, but that is what I would have liked to see.
Complaints aside, I still felt like the story was worth my time. I enjoyed seeing two people who had so much heartbreak bounce back with both career success and finding their perfect match. I liked that Mitch and Lou share similar interest and that the story takes place outside of the frequently used “hotel room”. And with the hot sex thrown into the mix, you really can’t help but be entertained by this short read. I can’t say that I have a good enough grasp on Ms. Moore’s writing style at this point, so I will be reading another of her books in the future. Sometimes a novella can make or break an author for me, but in this case, I feel like I only got a glimpse of Ms. Moore. Those who enjoy 1 Nigh Sand should count this story as another fun read. Unfamiliar readers who enjoy quick reads with hot sex and an inevitable HEA should definitely read this one. And if you have yet to experience the 1 Night Stand series, what the heck are you waiting for?
(eBook copy provided by author/tour company in exchange for an honest review.)

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