When Entangled Publishing – who, next to Avon, is the romance publisher I feel I can trust to have a terrific level of quality and editing – announced they were launching their new Entangled Flirts line, I was intrigued. Anyone reading about the proliferation of ebooks has seen the articles indicating that shorter novellas and episodic books are the hot new item since people want a satisfying story they can read in one sitting amidst all the other activities happening in their lives. Entangled Flirts are designed to be 10K to 40K (think 40 to 80 pages) and cover the areas of contemporary romance, thrillers, and even historical romance fiction.
Huh. This is a fascinating trend, and I definitely wanted to sample the wares to see if the same level of quality that I enjoy in the Brazen (and Covet and Scandalous) line could be present in a shorter package. So I bought a few of them (at $.99, not hard on the wallet) and sat back to test the waters.
My first one was Wendy Sparrow’s On His List and I was WOWED by how such a short novella can back an emotional punch. It’s always a credit to the author’s writing when you finish the last page feeling the emotional satisfaction associated with a longer work, and the story of Remy and Owen definitely fit the bill.
Remy Maison lives in a dive apartment in San Francisco with her brother Denny and while the two of them work their butts off (she as a massage therapist and Denny as a driver) they can’t easily come back from someone stealing their rent money from their coffee can stash. Luckily Denny has an all day driving job with a regular who is a heavy tipper, but when Denny wakes up with one of his migraines, Remy has to sacrifice her day off to meet the guy at the airport and drive him around. Denny has cautioned her ad nauseum how this client is REALLY particular – he loves order, doesn’t want his things touched, and needs silence. This is going to be a challenge for chatty, button pusher Remy, but if the choice is tow the line or get kicked out of their apartment, she’ll somehow manage.
Until she gets one look at Owen walking off the concourse, that is. Denny neglected to mention that the “client” was a gorgeous, younger guy here to look after his many businesses. While he’s definitely super particular, it’s also obvious that there is some serious heat between them. But Remy knows she needs to keep it professional, yet the urge is there to help Owen push his boundaries, just a little. With Owen living in Miami and Remy not a one-night stand kind of woman, this particular substitution might end up causing more heartache than if they got evicted.
In 60+ pages, Sparrow made the smart choice to keep this story entirely from Remy’s perspective and yet she steered clear of the first person (THANK YOU, WENDY) which keeps the tone of the novella similar to other well-written contemporary romances. The setting of San Francisco is outstandingly written and Remy’s dilemma of wanting to be professional yet at the same time unable to deny her playful personality is well depicted. While there is no consummation of their relationship (the novella is basically the first two days they know each other), there is still so much heat and yearning that I felt very satisfied in the sexy times department. An afterword in the book from the author explains her gratitude to the doctor who has helped treat her OCD, so Owen’s wrestling with Remy throwing him off schedule and marking up his itinerary feels very authentic as a result of Sparrow’s personal experiences.
If this novella is typical of what Entangled new Flirts line is going to offer, I plan on reading many more of these excellent stories. Many thanks to Wendy Sparrow for On His List – Owen would definitely get put in the “to-do” column of my planner!