Slow Hands (by Leslie Kelly)

Slow Hands (by Leslie Kelly - for Harlequin Blaze) The Wrong Bed: Again and Again
Conflict:  Big Misunderstanding / Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

The cover quote from Carly Phillips says "a little outrageous"...  Or how about a whole shit-ton of outrageous?!  (**SPOILERS**)  I have to break this down in a numbered outline to make sure I'm not leaving anything out:

1 - She thinks he's a gigolo (because she won him in a win-a-date-for-charity-auction, and his description in the pamphlet clearly said he was a European jet-setting playboy - of course!).  Actuality:  He is a fun-loving and sensitive average guy - happily devoted to his paramedic EMT job.  Result:  Massive misunderstanding.

2 - They genuinely really like each other, but are too shy/nervous to have a deep heart-to-heart discussion.

3 - So they bone like crazy instead...  (Ok, now I see why Harlequin calls the Blaze series"scorching tales of passion and lust".)

4 - ...and yet... they're still too shy/nervous to have a deep heart-to-heart discussion, with meaningful questions such as "Hey, what do you do for a living?" or "What do you like most/least about your job?" or "What were your past relationships like?"

5 - The next morning he makes a rude comment about him being a manwhore (and she deduces that he just slept with her because she "bought" him, and he couldn't possibly have genuine feelings for her, etc.).  He gets offended, naturally.

6 - She apologizes and then, get this... decides to "buy him again" for 30 days (with the direct intentions of more all-night freak-nasty sexy times).
6a. - That's when it dawns on him that she actually thinks he really IS a gigolo! - and he justifies his withholding the truth from her (that he's a paramedic, not a manwhore), in order to prove to her that true love does exist, and he's the perfect guy for her!
6b. - (And he'll NEVER hurt her.  He'll just wait to tell her the truth when the timing is right, and then she'll understand.)

7 - Outrageous-ness ensues throughout the pages.

I feel split on this one.  So many things bothered me.  The whole "buying" part.  The lies by omission.  (Oooooh, I hate that so much.)  An off-color (non-relevant to the story) homophobic comment.  (Ugh. Seriously wrong.)  And so many times that she/he could have easily interjected and mentioned the truth.  (SO MANY TIMES!)  She thinks he's a European jet-setting playboy, yet doesn't ask him about his travels or his job or daily habits in any detail at all - nothing.  Really?  It's as if they only wanted to talk about boning and have flirty-banter back and forth.  He wants to prove that he'll never hurt her by... lying... to... her?!  Silence with the intention to deceive.

Lastly, the "wrong bed" part on the cover just seems odd.  No one ever wants a fling or encounter to be "the wrong bed".  If someone ever reads this and figures out why Harlequin uses the "Wrong Bed" tagline on the Blazes (or previously on the Temptation series), please let me know!*

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  I don't.  (Except her mother died when she was young.  That's sad.)  She is also some sort of super financial ice queen of Chicago... millionairess with her own penthouse - and she's only 28.  WHAT?!  (Oh, that's right - her job is daddy's banking company.)  She's ballsy and tough.  I get it.

One thing I did like:  Her ice queen attitude throughout the book makes her grovelling at the end that much sweeter.

Overall:   Here's why I'd give another Blaze a try, and/or I MIGHT pick up another Leslie Kelly book.  It felt like insta-lust, but at about 241 pages, I can't complain.  It wasn't until I got to page 200 that I sat up and paid attention to the story (not just hot boning and lies).  The conflict collided, so everything is out in the open and we even had a few plot bombs dropped on us!  Characters were saying the things that I wanted them to say.  Just when I thought the mess wouldn't be cleaned up and none of it would make sense - curve balls came flying in and then everything just fell into place.  I was satisfied with the ending.  (Well done, Ms. Kelly and HQ Blaze! - Except next time, leave out the inadmissible homophobic comments.  That shit is unacceptable and un-necessary for the plot.)

*(Ok, I'll stop being lazy, and I'll email HQ.)

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