Published by Harlequin on 28 January 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Naughty But Nice
by New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis
Lingerie model Cassie Tremaine Montgomery intends to have her revenge on the citizens of her hometown—starting with seducing the sheriff, Sean "Tag" Taggart. Tag, however, isn't cooperating. He's more than willing to set the sheets on fire with her, but he's asking for more than just sizzling sex…. He knows Cassie's not as tough as she pretends. And he knows she cares about him—even if she won't admit it. So he'll just turn up the heat until she concedes there's more between them than this red-hot passion.
by New York Times bestselling author Leslie Kelly
Kate Jones, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, is home. And she's got an agenda. To get revenge on the man who humiliated her mother, Kate's going to seduce that man's son—the town's golden boy, John Winfield Jr.—and then leave him drooling in a puddle of lust. However, when she finds herself seduced by a sexy stranger named Jack, little does she guess that the tables have just been turned….
*I received a free ARC of Bare Essentials from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Bare Essentials contains two pretty long novellas, the first one is Naughty but Nice by Jill Shalvis, and as with most of her books, I was drawn into the story from the very start, both by the quirky but hot characters, the sexual tension and the humor. Between Cassie and Tag, there is first nothing at all, apart maybe some kind of awareness, before they both decide the other couldn’t be more wrong for them if they tried. And that made the story so humorous. Cassie had it a little tough growing up in the small town, though, especially because her mother was well-known for her seducing ways. And it appeared that she never cared if she broke up a marriage or two on her way. All Cassie wanted when she was younger was to leave, make someone important of herself, buy a cute, yellow sports-car and come back to make everybody eat their words.
Ten years after leaving, she’s back, but not for good – only until she can shake off her stalker. And since love has never been on her radar – all men want is only sex, after all – she never expects to find neither friendship nor love in the town she was so happy to leave behind. Her first meeting with Tag was hilarious, as the town sheriff, he was called in when a small, yellow sports-car was spotted speeding in several places. And when he saw Cassie, he knew who she was, because even he sometimes looked at lingerie catalogs…
As you can see, the first story of Bare Essentials was made of awesome! Both their unwillingness to fall for each other, the sexual tension and chemistry in spades, as well as their evident attraction made me click ‘next page’ so fast my kindle begged me to slow down. Cassie’s cousin and best friend , Kate, has a sex-toy shop in Chicago, and because Cassie now owns a building in Pleasantville, they decide together to open a second shop there. It could both be a kind of revenge on the town they both felt held them back and down, and some fun for them to have while also building the business. Of course, the shop’s name is none other than… yes, you guessed it! Bare Essentials.
And someday she’d come back here and show them all. She’d come back driving a fancy car. She’d live in the biggest house on Lilac Hill, just because she could. And… oh, yes, this was her favorite… she’d get the sheriff. Somehow, some way.
Pleasantville had a scent she’d never forgotten. It smelled like broken dreams and fear. Or maybe that was just her imagination.
The next time he let a woman into his life – and there would be a next time – it was going to be for keeps. She was going to be a sweet, quiet little thing who lived for him.
The second part of Bare Essentials is Naturally Naughty by Leslie Kelly – and it’s following Kate as the main character. And frankly, Leslie Kelly completely pulls off writing from Kate’s point of view. We did meet Kate in Naughty but Nice, just as Cassie is present in Naturally Naughty as well. Refreshing, fun, hot and different, I haven’t enjoyed reading a novella by a new-to-me author this much in a very long time!
Bare Essentials is more than just two novellas in the same binding, they are woven together expertly, and the stories are excellent! Naturally Naughty is great, because Kate was supposedly the good girl when she grew up, and now, she has a very classy shop with adult merchandise catering to women and couples – she sells everything from sex-toys, tasteful erotic movies, sexy lingerie and some items that even she considers a little risqué. And she is very open about her own sexuality – with no judgment from Jack – whom she was all set to detest because of who his father was.
Also struggling with her child-hood memories of this small-minded town filled with nasty gossip but actually finding new friends, Kate is a very complex character, and the way she has shielded herself is similar to the way Cassie has been hiding her heart. The right man can totally tease her out of her shell, though, and Jack *swoon* is an awesome leading man.
If you are looking for a different kind of story you should definitely pick up Bare Essentials, you even get two awesome, hot and sweet reads in one, and it is truly amazing that two different authors wrote these stories, because even if the writing and the voices are a little different, the actual stories go together perfectly!
She’d been surrounded by fake penises of all shapes, colors and sizes for so long, she hardly remembered what a real one looked like.
But, oh, my, how she wanted to handle him. The realization surprised her. She’d thought she wanted him to back away. She figured her natural defense – that being a deliberately aggressive offense – would protect her as it had so many times in the past. It hadn’t. Instead it had catapulted her right out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Her cool exterior and calm demeanor hid a passionate woman with a naughty streak.