Self published, 2010
When corporate reorganization strikes, spirited journalist Stanna keeps her job but discovers her struggle has only begun. The workplace becomes a sizzling environment as she battles her macho, hard-bodied new boss for control of the Men's Weekly column. She's determined to reform him. He's determined to train her. Neither wants to acknowledge the electrifying attraction that pulls at them both.
Genre & Keywords:
M/F, Contemporary, Men’s Magazine, Columnist, Macho vs Feminist
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames
Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the author
*THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*
L.A. Caveman has an interesting premise: a woman in a men's world has to deal with her macho, chauvinistic new boss who happens to look yummy. Despite their initial hate for each other and huge difference of opinion the hero and heroine feel attracted to each other.
The author takes her time introducing Stanna and Jake and doesn't rush the physical attraction into the story. I liked that a lot. The character building is done carefully and the protags gradually get more layers and start to become three dimensional.
There's some hot kissing and then a retreat, followed by some more kissing and another retreat. And eventually there's some tender love making. And yet another retreat. The hesitant and cautious relationship building is due to the professional difference of opinion which still exists when the smexy time creeps up on the main characters. So far, I was completely engrossed in this love story and I could relate to the characters. I might have liked a slightly more creative approach of the feminist vs macho column conflict, but the story was heading to a solid 4, if not 4.5, stars read.
Unfortunately, then Stanna did something that felt completely out of character to me: putting on sexy clothes and seducing Jake while their professional conflict was at its highest. And to top it off, Jake reacted totally inconsistent as well, given his trust issues with women. I was so disappointed by this turn of events. And from that point on the story took another few unlikely twist and turns. For example, I couldn't see the logic behind Jake's step to give Stanna her so called feminist column back while it still went against everything he believed in. Is it because the magazine turned out to make big profits before Jake's changes after all? Who says the profits were related to Stanna's column? Or is it something else? What happened to his believes? It's not clear to me.
Additionally I found the wrap up of the storyline involving Ian (the former, discharged editor who wants his job back for some dubious reasons) not particularly satisfying. He was not only a little over the top as a bad guy, but I also didn't like the main characters' easy attitude regarding his embezzlement, while they seemed to have higher moral standards than that.
And a last little niggle: there are a handful of very short intermezzos involving Telly (Stanna's roommate). Telly’s encounters with different - very strange - men are described and her search for Mr Right finally results in finding him in a unexpected place. These silly little interruptions seem rather pointless since they're not really related to Stanna and Jake's story. Stanna and Telly don't even talk about them.
Aside from these dislikes there are also enough things I liked. Apart from the aspects I already mentioned in the first paragraph, this story does have some other good stuff to offer. What's very pleasant is how Ms Crooks knows to describe a situation in such a way that it's instantly clear what we're dealing with. Setting, body language, conversation are all vividly unfolding in front of you, to form a colorful, informative picture. Her writing style is lucid and not overly descriptive, yet illuminating.
Another part I enjoyed a lot, is the description of the hot kissing and sexy smexing. These hot moments had the right amount of tenderness and arousal and were showing us the feelings and thoughts from both the male and female perspective. Just how I like the sexy moments in my romances.
Overall, it feels like I've read the work of two different authors with the first and the second part of this book. Based on the first half I would certainly want to pick up another book by this author - it had a lot of ingredients I like in a romance (character driven romance junkie that I am). But based on the second half of the book I would pause shortly before clicking the Buy-button. I guess the only way to find out which of the two authors I'll get with a next book, is just to take the jump and hope that it's the author of the first half of L.A. Caveman. Because in that case it'll be more than worth the money.
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Buy L.A. Caveman here