All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Mai Tai For Two – Delphine Dryden

on May 17, 2014

Mai Tai For TwoMai Tai For Two
Delphine Dryden
Cosmo Red-Hot Reads (Harlequin)
2014, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Julie never wins anything. So when she and her ‘work husband’ win a door prize at a motivational event for their work, she cannot believe it. Four days and three nights in Hawaii for two, no less. Julie decides to bring along her best friend and vows that she’s going to let loose. It’s been far too long since her last romantic interlude and she’s sure the perfect setting and a few cocktails makes for a great holiday casual fling.

Her work husband Alan, one of her best friends, chooses to come alone rather than bring someone else and Julie is surprised to feel a little jealousy when her friend looks like she might be hitting on him. Thankfully Amanda’s ex-fiance turns up to woo her back and that leaves Julie and Alan alone. Having been best friends and co-workers for several years, both have at some stage, been curious about what it would be like to go that step further, Alan especially. Julie wasn’t quite sure how she felt about Alan until it looked like someone else might want him. Now she knows.

A few drinks and a few dances together and they’re ready to take it to the next level. Julie was looking for a holiday fling but she’s not sure that’s going to be possible with Alan. The sex is incredible for both of them but they also have a friendship to preserve. Can they go back to the way things were or will they be able to successfully negotiate moving to the next level and developing a proper relationship?

So lately I’ve been immersed in the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin and they are fantastic. But in between those I also need something a bit lighter, a bit more fun where people aren’t dying and having horrible things happening to them on just about every other page. So I nabbed this one for one of those breaks. I’d seen it earlier on NetGalley and I thought it sounded really fun. I love the friends-to-lovers trope and the added complication of them working together sounded like there was great potential for a really clever and fresh story here.

Julie and Alan have worked together for several years and have become very close friends during that time. A few years ago, Julie tried to set Alan up with her best friend Amanda but it fizzled out after a few dates. That same best friend is coming to Hawaii with Julie and she also has indicated that she’s up for a fling after breaking off her engagement recently. And the man she is eyeing off is none other than Alan, making a jealousy she didn’t know she had rise up in Julie. Meanwhile Alan is trying hard not to fantasise about the one he really wants….which is Julie. It has the possibility for love-triangle complications but thankfully her ex-fiance turns up to spirit Amanda away which leaves Alan and Julie alone. Once that happens it takes no time at all for the two of them to lower their inhibitions and basically go for it.

This book had so much potential but I really feel that the execution lets it down. Whilst we’re told that Julie and Alan know each other so well, there’s not really enough background fleshing out of their relationship to give the reader enough of a grasp on their closeness. And although we got a few glimpses of Alan’s thoughts about how attractive he found Julie, her attraction towards him seemed to be sparked by a jealousy that he might want to sleep with her best friend rather than her, which was a little bit weird. I think the chemistry needed to be more present, I’d have loved to see more lust and have the initial attraction drawn out a bit longer rather than have them fall into bed with each other two seconds after a ‘moment’. Some of the sex scenes aren’t bad but the one scene that I thought was the hottest to begin with went off on a bit of an odd tangent when Julie checked out mentally and started to overthink the act she was doing which led to the whole thing becoming rather awkward and pretty much the opposite of hot. Then the story began to get bogged down in both of the character’s insecurities about the other’s feelings towards them and it seemed to really take the edge off the light, holiday-style story. I know they had things to sort out but it seemed to go on quite long and really I just wanted the two of them to actually talk to each other. So much is made of them being best friends, but yet they can’t figure out each other’s feelings or screw up the courage to take the leap of faith. It lowered the fun, sexy tone that I think was aimed for quite a bit.

This one didn’t really hit the mark for me – it had some bright spots and as I mentioned, a lot of potential. But I found both the characters a little immature and the chemistry quite underdeveloped. To be honest, I was more interested about what was happening with Amanda and her ex-fiance.

4/10

Book #102 of 2014

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