Last year when we were doing our genre tropes and themes wish list for 2013, one of the items everyone wanted to see more of were regular characters and blue collar heroes. This novella has one, and it’s no wonder we’re so thirsty for similar characters, because it was wonderful.
Amber lives and works in Camelot, a small Midwestern college town. She has lived there he whole life and even went to a local conservative college. The title and blurb make it clear that she’s a good girl tired of being good, and that hers is the story of the virgin and the bad boy. Except that it’s a lot more than that; beginning with the fact that nice girls who don’t want to be that nice, can manage to have sex --as bad as it may be-- on their own and long before the hero comes to their rescue. So Amber isn't a virgin, but does have a big set of longings and desires, one of which comes in the form of the hero, Tony.
When they get trapped in a dark basement during a tornado, Amber gets her wish. But there’s more to Tony than his looks and willingness to seduce Amber. So her wish comes with a lot of baggage that make the seduction easy and the love story complicated.
It would appear that Amber is repressed and Tony open, confident and extroverted, but on a closer look we realize that it’s not that simple. What it’s clear is that they are reacting to circumstances more than reflecting real personality traits, although one could argue that those traits can very well be shaped by circumstances, but I’m not adventuring into dark places in this review. The characters, however, do take themselves --an each other-- into some dark places as well as out of them, and I’m not just referring to the dark basement they are trapped in, although that particular plot device is a nice analogy to what Tony is going through in his personal life and in his head. Appearances can be deceiving, and as usual in Ms. Knox’s stories, the light packages and serendipitous, almost whimsical circumstances, hide characters that are deeper and more complex than what the first impressions show.
My one complaint is that the length constrictions don’t allow for believable character growth and emotional health. It ends as a work in process, but there is a bit of a leap of faith from the character that consequently asks for the reader’s leap of faith in order to believe in the happily ever after. So in a way, the story is too ambitious for what the length realistically allows, and I’m not sure whether it is due to an error in decision or in execution.
How to Misbehave is a great story and the perfect prequel novella. It’s impossible not to want to read the author again, but it offers more than just a taste, and delivers the satisfaction of having read an interesting, engaging book, regardless of how short it was. It’s a novella that makes you want to read more, not because it teases or offers a tiny sample, but because it gives everything it has.
Review by Brie
What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.
As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she's hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?
Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature's fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she's ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own--unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?
How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox
Loveswept. January 28, 2013.