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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger by Heidi Rice

Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger by Heidi Rice
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (172 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Millionaire entrepreneur Ryan King is mortified: he's just been pulled from the ocean by a pretty female lifeguard! Why, after months recovering from a horrific motorbike accident, did he get back on his surfboard? For the same reason he wants a hot, wild woman back in his bed—to prove he's the same man he was before….

Lifeguard Maddy is shocked to find that this half-drowned, totally gorgeous surfer has her body humming! She always ends up getting used—maybe this time it's her turn to do the using. It's the short, sizzling affair they both need—until their dangerously addictive liaison careers out of control….

The title Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger only covers the initial chapter; it’s what happens with that sexy hunk later which makes this book such an amazing reading experience. This story defines what I look for in a romance book and Ms. Rice delivers.

Maddy is the heroine and she’s such a warm and wonderful person it was a pleasure watching her deal with the cranky dude she saved from drowning. The fact that she was basically innocent of much of the cynical angst and manipulative plotting that most of the females Rye, the hero, was used to dealing with meant that this story got me excited. As soon as Maddy told him off with her “Cheers, Grumpy.” salvo, I was hooked. Ms. Rice provided Maddy with some of the most adorable and hysterical dialogue opportunities that worked so well with Rye’s surly attitude. It was when she got Rye to laugh that completely ensnared me and ensured that I would not put down this book until I was done. I never knew what Maddy was going to say and neither did Rye which was half the fun. I enjoyed how the heroine talked to herself and called herself, ‘Ms. Fix-it’. This story is chock full of clever writing and great descriptions. I don’t know how to express the extreme satisfaction that I got while reading this story.

Rye is a deliciously complicated man with a few defensive layers just begging to be unraveled. He’s rich, he’s commanding and boy, does he ever know his way around a woman’s body. There were quite a few times I really wished I was Maddy when he does what he does to her, more than once. Readers might need to grab a few ice cubes because this story is hot. I don’t mean that it’s graphic, it’s not. What makes it so darned effective is Rye’s seduction of the heroine and her reaction to it. The writing is superb. When he asked her if she likes a certain kind of sex play, it’s her reaction to him and his reaction to her reaction that had me reading wide eyed in eager fascination. It was enthralling, entertaining and a heck of a lot of fun. The thing is, I can get caught up in talking about all this spice and it is distracting, effectively so. And I’m not the only one who gets distracted by it. It was a pivotal revelation in the story. I enjoyed it when Maddy figured Rye out and came to a few hard conclusions. It was the hero’s response that made this romance so dramatic.

This story is character driven with the conflict being mostly internal. It’s about letting go of fears, earning trust and not being afraid of the future. It’s about celebrating what is truly important in life and grabbing the brass ring. Secondary characters are few but the most telling are Rye’s buddies, Phil and Zack. They are on scene enough to help a reader understand Rye a bit more and to stir up the plot advancement a little bit. Then there is Cal, Maddy’s brother. If there ever was a hook for a future book, Ms. Rice delivered it with an effective lure. There is no way readers are going to want to be left dangling after that little piece of internal dialogue from Maddy. Certainly not me. I sense a sequel and I can’t wait!

As much as I feel that the dilemma of Maddy’s future employment was solved a bit too sweetly for my tastes it didn’t dilute the sheer delight I received from the very complete and heartwarming happily ever after. I really liked how the author chose to bring it all together. In fact, the revelation at the end and Rye’s reaction to it from his point of view made me want to hug him. Maddy and Rye are really good together and Ms. Rice got their personalities to fit perfectly.

Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger is a very emotional book despite the very cheery title. This book hit all my happy buttons and is the kind of book I would have no problem telling all my friends to read. There is so much to like and enjoy throughout the entire story, it’s actually hard to pick just one scene or moment that was better than another. They all contributed to my maximum enjoyment and I look forward to reading other books from Ms. Rice. If her sense of humor and interpretation of life’s quirky moments are typical for her style of writing then the author has found herself a new fan.