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Friday, April 1, 2011

On the Fence by Keri Ford

On the Fence by Keri Ford
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (56 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

If Shellie Chambers has to hear one more condescending comment from her mother about life or men, she might scream. So, she packs up and takes a trip to see her long-missed high school friend, Riley. He'll know exactly what she needs to loosen up. But instead of the girl-chasing jock she remembers from their youth, Riley’s gone country, keeping up a farm of his own.

Riley Hamilton has settled down on a farm his uncle left to him. Not the life he ever envisioned, but after getting a girl pregnant in college and then watching helplessly as the baby was aborted, he learned the hard way it was time to settle down. Shellie’s reentry into his life reminds of his wild past and it’s a fight to ignore the tempting woman she has become.

This short story packs a punch in only a few pages. Author Keri Ford did a fabulous job giving me all the backstory and fabulous characterizations I needed without force-feeding, all the while keeping me invested in finding out what was going to happen to our hero and heroine.

Shellie has been molded by her mother into a mini-me, and has spent her life trying to find Mr. Right – but only if his wallet is fat enough. You’ve heard the phrase “It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one”, right? Well, Shellie’s mom lives by that mantra and has forced her daughter to do the same. Not only that, but Shellie’s spent her entire life being nagged about, well, everything: her attitude, her clothes, her posture, her speech ...

When this story begins, she’s had it and has run away to the farm her best friend from high school owns. Nevermind her best friend is a man. And that she hasn’t seen him in six years. And that he’s changed pretty dramatically.

Riley learned a really tough lesson about life in college, and it’s made him much more sober and responsible than he ever was before. So, while Shellie is looking for a fling, he doesn’t do casual sex and really, the first half of the story is how they deal with the push and pull of their mutual attraction, but opposing choices.

Shellie was a little hard for me to like at first – she felt weak and it frustrated me that she’d taken so long to get out from under her mother’s thumb. Riley, though, is a great guy. He’s gorgeous, responsible, caring... everything a real hero should be. But he’s also injured emotionally, and not prepared to deal with Shellie’s sudden need to do everything her mother always told her not to.

It’s clear there’s deep affection between the two of them, and this friends-to-lovers story is very sweet. I enjoyed it more than I imagined I would and finished the last page with a sigh and a smile. Don’t let that word “sweet” fool you though – the sexual tension and eventually the act itself is hot, hot, hot! Riley fights off Shellie’s advances time and again until I was about bursting with need as much as he was. And when he finally gives in? Whoo.. boy! Did I mention what a perfect hero he was?

My only complaint is that I really think this could have been a little longer. Parts of it seemed a bit rushed, and I was so involved with the characters that I felt a little cheated. I wanted MORE. There’s a reason for that: Ms. Ford’s writing is descriptive, strong and clean and I will definitely be on the lookout for more from her.

If you’re looking for a quick read to get your heart sighing and your hormones racing, then I highly recommend On the Fence. It’ll press all your happy buttons.