walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Two Mari Carr novels: _The Back-Up Plan_ and _Never Been Kissed_ (Second Chances) SPOILERS

Alas, after reading those Maya Banks categories, I really felt like I needed a palate cleanser, so I caught up in the Second Chances series.

Series summary: a bunch of women who have Thursday night Wine Nights at the townhome complex they all live in set New Year's Resolutions.


In _The Back-Up Plan_, 39 year old Kristen shares a small but successful law practice with Jason. He's a bit of a playboy. She has a drawer full of sex toys. Neither ever wants to have kids and one drunken night 4 years earlier, they made a deal that if they weren't married by 40, they'd marry each other (hence the title). Kristen and Jason then made a deal at 39 to help each other find candidate alternatives. Jason finds Matthew, who matches Kristen's criteria to a T (but not her friends', which include Hot Sex) and then realizes he's super jealous. Kristen finds Monica for Jason, and Monica notices that Jason has it bad for Kristen and bows out (hope we see Monica again. Monica seems way cool). Antics ensue, mostly Jason makes a couple of impulsive moves and they get a real sense of each other outside of the law practice. They realistically are somewhat leery of risking the work relationship.

Ordinarily, I don't care for books where the woman has way, way, way less sexual experience than the man AND is portrayed as having this incredibly high libido. Because that does not actually make a ton of sense to me. However, by consistently portraying Kristen has having a highly rewarding relationship with herself, and being open about it with her friends, Mari Carr makes Kristen at least somewhat believable.

Fun, especially if Lawyers In Love who don't want kids and who do love the banter does it for you.

_Never Been Kissed_ has a substantially younger heroine, at 28. Shelly's dad died when she was young and her mom sort of spent their subsequent life together cooking and eating. The result is two women on blood pressure and other meds and mum has type 2 diabetes. Shelly has decided to do something about it, but mum is resisting (hey, you get comfortable, and when someone unilaterally changes a relationship it is scary). Shelly's shyness has faded somewhat with Wine Night and a friendly colleague at work, fellow IT nerd Christian, but she's still a virgin with huge self-loathing.

Christian is determined to have a relationship with her, but he's not making much progress until he runs into Shelly at Blue Moon, who has been dancing with Lance, Christian's friend from high school who is now running the exercise studio Shelly goes to. There are some funny stories told between the high school buddies and Shelly misunderstands one of the stories to mean that Lance is gay, then her self-loathing reinterprets (incorrectly) all of their behavior towards her. Once that is straightened out, the three of them become fast friends, and there is some kissing. Shelly fesses to her virginity, Christian and Lance and Shelly work out that there doesn't seem to be any toxic jealousy. Other than Lance wanting to bail out to leave Christian and Shelly to be the couple they might have eventually become if he'd never entered the picture, everyone is having a gloriously fun time ... hanging out. But the sexual tension ratchets up, and Lance pushes a bit, and the next thing you know they all head back to Christian's place. You know what dancing leads to.

The relationship stays a V. There is no "boy touching" (which is at least mildly disappointing to Shelly and at least this reader, but I'm not going to complain and neither does she). But they come out to the Wine Girls, then Lance becomes a roommate of Christian's as Shelly spends more and more time at his place (the biggest bed wins. It is ever thus.). One of the most fun things about Mari Carr is her ability to normalize kink -- you sort of almost believe that even in Harrisburg, a threesome could be accepted by friends and family. Maybe. And that means the reader never has to deal with the wrenching sadness of the V dwindling down to a two-some.

Fun, altho again, high libido, low experience woman.
Tags: book review, contemporary erotica
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