Smooth Talking Stranger: B-
Ella Varner & Jack Travis
Ella Varner grew up with a troublesome mother and an insecure sister, but she has managed to come out of it reasonably sane, with a good (if vegan) boyfriend, Dane, and a job as an advice columnist. All of this gets turned upside down when her sister disappears and sticks Ella with her newborn, Luke. Determined to find Luke's father, Ella tracks down a likely suspect—millionaire playboy Jack Travis. The encounter results in Travis and Ella unexpectedly engaged in an irrepressible attraction. Meanwhile, Ella grows fond of baby Luke and fears what will happen when Tara returns. As Ella grapples with conflicting desires, she learns some important lessons about love and trust... (amazon)
Here is another installment of a Travis man, Jack Travis, and though the book had great potential, as do all the Travis men, it fell short of the greatness I was expecting.
I normally love love Lisa Kleypas' books because she is able to develop the characters and really portray the growth of the hero and heroine's relationship. The journey is as wonderful as the end, since we all know endings to romance novels are happy. Even knowing that the hero and heroine will end up together, LK makes it exciting.
This one, however, was a combination of unpleasantness, on several different levels.
1, the hero and heroine have chemistry (as Jack is hot hot!) but they don't really develop their relationship because...
2, Ella is taking care of the damned baby. I have nothing against babies, however, the fact that LK is sticking babies into romance stories left and right is starting to irritate me. Taking care of a child is a HUGE responsibiilty and needs to be of the utmost priority. But in this story, Ella is thrown into her new role as a mother around the same time she meets Jack. Things are crazy, no doubt about it, but with duties as a new mother, where is the time for romance? For love? I'm sure it happens in reality, but not in the way LK portrayed it. There needed to be more details, more development, especially because the story is not only handling a love story, it's handling a story about a mother and child. She did neither story justice.
3, Um, the ending? What was that? It was rushed and lame. And rushed.
Kind of like: "Ohhh, we have twenty pages left, so I love you Jack!"
"Oh yea, I forgot to tell you that I love you, too."
4, Lack of development of Ella. She obviously grows up in a very dysfunctional family. So... I can kind of assume how she became the woman she is, but I don't want to assume. I want you write your beautiful prose, LK, and tell me, dang it!
5, Excess sex scenes. ...which, for me, without relationship development, is like too much icing. Unsatisfying and uncool to swallow.
It was decently fun to read and Jack is hot hot, but don't expect a stunner out of this one.