Review: A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster

24 Mar

A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster
Harlequin (March 27, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780373776566
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “He made a soft, gravelly sound as he stretched that long, strong body His chin tucked in. Muscles flexed.
The sheet tented.
Eyes widening, Arizona stared, not really alarmed, but no longer at ease, either. She had a very dark history with aroused men, so she doubted she’d ever be unaffected by them. But she didn’t let it get in her way, not when she wanted something, not when she had a goal in mind.
She knew she should have taken Spencer’s gun, at the very least moved it out of his reach. But instead she’d found him in the bed, and before she’d even thought it through, she’d taken the empty seat and settled in to study him while he slept.
Since that fateful day when her destiny had been stolen from her, she’d seen  him only a handful of times. She’d tried to stay away. She’d tried to forget about him.
She hadn’t been successful.
Stretching, he brought his hand out from behind his head, around to rub over his hair, across his face, down his chest.
As he gave a sleepy, growling groan, that hand disappeared under the sheet.
Arizona’s lips parted, and her heartbeat tripped up. She cleared her throat. “Spencer?”
Freezing, without moving any other body part, he opened his eyes and met her gaze.” (p. 12, egalley)

He never saw her coming…

Spencer Lark already knows too many secrets about Arizona Storm, including the nightmare she survived and her resulting trust issues. But in order to expose a smuggling ring—and continue avenging his own tragic past—the bounty hunter reluctantly agrees to make Arizona a decoy. Yet nothing has equipped him for her hypnotic blend of fragility and bravery, or for the protective instincts she stirs in him.

Arizona wants to reclaim her life, which means acting as bait to lure the enemy into a trap. Sure it’s dangerous, especially with a partner as distractingly appealing as Spencer. But as their plan— and their chemistry—shifts into high gear, Arizona may discover there’s an even greater risk in surrendering her heart to a hero….

Book four in Lori Foster’s Men Who Walk the Edge with Honor series is about two people readers were thoroughly introduced to in book three: Arizona and Spencer. We learned Arizona was a former victim of human trafficking and that Spencer was a man seeking revenge on his wife’s killers who happened to participate in human trafficking. We also got a look at the chemistry between the two characters. I was so excited to get my hands on this book.

I hoped reading A Perfect Storm would take me back to the good feeling I had while reading book one in the series, When You Dare. In that book I liked the couple, the story and the setting. Of the three, I liked two this go around. I did not care for the main characters, but the heroine, well she drove me nuts.

Arizona was sold to human traffickers by her father when she was 17-years-old. After six months in captivity, she escaped, was soon caught and almost murdered. Obviously she was majorly traumatized. I feel sympathy for her lost childhood and the trauma she experienced. However, Arizona acted like a 17-year-old throughout the story. She kept insisting she was grown as the story begins on her 21st birthday, but everything about her screams 17.

She is educated, a quick learner and despite her forced sexual experience, very innocent. Her remarks are blunt and sometimes funny. Mostly they came across as immature and childish. I had a hard time believing that the heroine was a grown woman when she came across as 17. What grown woman says:

“You’re a chubby chaser?”–p. 32

Or reacts to the following information in the following way?

“With significance, Marla purred, “For one thing, he’s big all over.”
Arizona’s heart almost stopped. In an appalled whisper, she asked, “You like that?”
Scowling, Marla pulled back. “Bigger is definitely better.”
Visuals came to Arizona’s mind, but she didn’t have quite the reaction Marla seemed to expect. She wrinkled her nose. “If you say so.”
Marla shivered with pleasure. “He’s delicious.”
Yeaaaahhhh, she’d let that one go.”–p. 52

My feelings toward Spencer are slightly different. He felt slightly squicky to me. At the beginning of the story the author tells us Spencer “felt extreme pity. For her (Arizona).” He’s been fighting his sexual attraction for Arizona for months because she was too young. She’s now 21, so he’s willing to investigate whatever may exist between the two. Spencer slowly introduces Arizona to the emotional aspect of sex beginning with kissing.

Spencer asks Arizona to agree to a bet. A bet in which every time she says a cuss word she must kiss Spencer. He knows that she is afraid yet still presses forward with a plan to force Arizona into becoming comfortable with him. She would kiss him not because she wanted to, but as punishment. He says, “Given your expression, the idea of kissing me would be insufferable, so I’m guessing it should be incentive enough to clean up your language.” (p. 26) Even the following doesn’t stop him from following through with the bet.

“I will not hurt you, damn it!”
She almost jumped out of her skin with that deep, loud shout. But he looked more offended than threatening, alleviating her concern. “Sheesh. Stop my heart, why don’t you?” At least his outburst had brought her back around, helping her to shake off those odd sensations of worry and…hurt.
He literally fumed. “You’re standing there configuring escape routes.”
“No way.” How could he know that?”
“I saw it in your eyes, Arizona. You have an expressive face.”
“Seriously?” And here she’d thought just the opposite.–(p. 31)

Spencer goes on to explain foreplay and finding sexual satisfaction, things most teenagers know. He came across as a much older  man who is interested in a young woman. In reality, he isn’t too much older than Arizona. Knowing how damaged Arizona is, he patiently imparts his opinion on healthy relationships and sexual relations. Okay, she needs to know sex isn’t “wham, bam, I paid for it ma’am” but when Spencer told a former sexual partner Arizona was “a one-night stand who didn’t understand the concept” (p. 33) I might have gotten a little cranky.

There are other story lines taking place. Arizona is discovering her position in the self-made family with whom she surrounds herself and a human trafficking ring needs to be stopped. Those two things are secondary to the main characters finding love. Not relating to the heroine or the hero, transformed the story into a tedious tale. A little past the midway point of the story Arizona started coming across as a twenty-something year old and the story became smoother/more enjoyable. Too bad I’d already spent a good amount of time hating the characters and that cannot be ignored. Liking the last quarter of the book does nothing to write off the irritation I felt early on.

What it all boils down to is simple. A Perfect Storm is a character driven romance. If you wind up disliking the main characters like I did, you will not enjoy the book.

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2 Responses to “Review: A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster”

  1. bookswagger April 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I’m with you I felt that Arizona was a child therefore the romance just felt wrong somehow. I was actually extremely disappoint because even though I hadn’t read the other books in the series I had such high expectation due to other books she has written.

  2. scooper April 15, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    I was disappointed also. I thought it’d be deeper than it turned out to be. I think I’m 2 for 2 with this series. But the ones I liked had just as many people saying they disliked those books too.

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