It's tough to play it cool on a sultry summer night . . .
The perfect daughter. The perfect prom queen. The perfect wife. Jenny Tolliver's been the good girl all her life, and it's gotten her nowhere. Now that her marriage has been busted up by her cheating ex, she's decided it's time to regroup and rediscover herself. This summer she's headed back to her hometown of Destiny, Ohio, to the very lakeshore cottage where she grew up, to figure out what life holds in store for her next.
She never dreamed the answer would be Mick Brody, Destiny's #1 hellraiser. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks (or in his case, the lake), and he's landed in hot water more times than he can count. He's exactly the kind of guy Jenny's always kept her distance from . . . but soon the good girl and the bad boy are caught in a raw heat that's out of control. Too bad Mick's got a secret that threatens to tear them apart and ruin Jenny's perfectly, passionately reckless summer . . .
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Thoughts: At first glance, the cover looks really generic but a bit inviting as well. And while it screams summer beach read, with the coolness of fall, it was nice to vacate to a warmer climate even if it was only in my mind. Now, since completing the book, I can better appreciate the landscape depicted for the lake, swimsuit and canoe are all very important to this novel.
Single Title/Series: ONE RECKLESS SUMMER is book one in the Destiny Series. It'll be a grouping of stories taking place in the small Ohio town of Destiny. Although they'll all be loosely tied, you can read ONE RECKLESS SUMMER and all the following series titles as stand alone novels.
Why I read it: I was first introduced to Toni Blake by Barbara. After describing her favorite Blake novel, TEMPT ME TONIGHT, I knew I had to read it. First of all, I'm a huge fan of small town romance. I've always wanted to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone and all their drama. Where you can leave your front door unlocked without the slightest fear. But even better, my all time favorite romance theme is unrequited love and TEMPT ME TONIGHT had that in spades. The book also became apart of my best reads for 2009. So when I discovered that Blake was writing a series about the small town of Destiny and her Destinyites, I was hooked before I even purchased the book.
Jenny Tolliver is on the down slide from an okay marriage that ended with her husband cheating on her with a twenty-one-year-old child and is now back in her hometown of Destiny, Ohio - a.k.a. June Cleaver central. For as long as she can remember, Jenny has always been "good Jenny" where her worst committed offense was canoeing across the lake with her best friend Sue Ann in high school. Even her ex-husband claimed she was too good for the sex life he wanted and thus having to turn to a different and younger source to slake his seedier lust. Staying at her dad's house for the summer, Jenny's sole hope is to stick her head in a hole with the occasional outing to peer through her beloved telescope. But when the perfect star-gazing night turns into wild sex with a stranger that's not really a stranger, Jenny finds herself and her life on whole new path.
For Jenny, the summer in Destiny becomes a coming of age story despite her thirty-one years. Her whole life she's done nothing but try and be the perfect child, the perfect teenager and then the perfect wife. Now, when someone mentions how good she is, Jenny feels like flaying the skin from her bones. Never has she done something with her life where she hasn't weighed the thoughts and potential reaction of others and she's tired of it, tired of never really having lived. When bad-boy Mick Brody re-enters her life, Jenny will convince herself of absolutely anything to continue having a passionate affair with a man who finally truly wants her, even if it means that she's potentially aiding and abetting a criminal.
Mick Brody has always been the wrong guy from the wrong side of the tracks but in his case, it was more the wrong side of the lake. Growing up with two cruel parents and a brother bent on breaking the law is bad enough, but living with those circumstances in a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone is even worse. The Brody name to this day is still uttered with disgust in Destiny and if it wasn't for the dire situation that Mick currently finds himself in, he wouldn't have ever come back.
After first following his brother to the wrong side of the law, Mick learned quickly that the vigilante life wasn't for him when his brother was thrown in jail and he was left to fend for himself. Now he's made something of himself, nothing grand but the feel of being right and self-sufficient has given Mick an inner peace that he's never felt before. Unfortunately his peace turns to hell when he's dragged back to Destiny but Mick isn't too lonely for long.
When he finds Jenny Tolliver trespassing, he can't believe that it's her. He's always had a thing for Jenny even though they've only ever spoken a handful of words to one another. But with his situation being highly precarious, the last thing Mick needs is someone aware of his presence in Destiny. But when his gruff attempts to scare Jenny off is first met with resistance and then surprisingly turns into wild abandon on the forest floor, Mick helplessly revels in the temporary escape of ecstasy. Unfortunately, Jenny knowing that he's back in Destiny is a big and dangerous problem with her father being the chief of police and all. Mick, deciding to keep tabs on her, canoes across to her side of the lake periodically and the beautiful little house and life that he always dreamed of being apart of. Now if only he can manage to keep himself falling in love with the girl and the dream that he's always wished for.
ONE RECKLESS SUMMER, while enjoyable, was disappointingly predictable. There seemed to be a distinct pattern to the book. Step one: Jenny and Mick would have wild sex. Step two: Afterwards, Jenny's wallowing in guilt and going to her best friend for comfort. Step three: Jenny meets up with her dad and feels horribly guilty again but this time for not telling him that she's having an affair with a criminal. Step four: Repeat with Jenny diving back under the sheets with Mick. This cycle repeated about four times and made it very hard for me to retain interest in the novel.
In addition, ORS lacked the sexual tension that I was expecting from Blake. I know what she can deliver and it felt too easy with Mick and Jenny. I'm not one to mind sex within the first chapter but it was just too easy for Mick and Jenny to fall back into bed again after that first time. I was hoping that gnawing sexual tension would force them into having sex again but instead it only took a few choice words on Mick's part to leave Jenny panting for more.
When I was talking to Barbara about this book I explained it as such: ONE RECKLESS SUMMER was like a term paper that met all the professors criteria in every way but lacked the extra something special that snags the A grade. In this case Blake has the requisite bad boy, hot sex and a reluctant hero and heroine that are true to their characters but there's nothing beyond this to make the novel stand out. It's enjoyable but completely forgettable.