I fell for Tawna Fenske‘s writing this past summer after loving her Eat, Play, Lust novella. Now having read the first book in her new series for Entangled Brazen (yes, please!), I am definitely reminded why I love her writing. Hot, sweet heroes who occasionally step in it and flawed funny heroines generate plenty of heat together in the pages of her books, resulting in plenty of reader laughs and sighs as we watch two people struggle to get their happily ever after.
But even I wondered how much heat a talented writer could pull off when the heroine in question has twin seven-month-old boys. I have now come to the conclusion that Fenske lives to defy the odds, gleefully laughing while traveling where other authors fear to tread. This woman pulls off the impossible, delivering a relatively new Mom actually interested in having sex – but then again, who wouldn’t when the man in question is a sexy Marine who loves children and can clean and cook like Martha Stewart (minus the servant abuse)?
Sam Kercher can’t let on he’s a Marine however. His buddy Mac finds Sam helping his parents while contemplating whether or not to officially leave the Corps. Still torn up over his last assignment (which is under investigation), he’s taking some much needed time off, a fact Mac knows. Since Mac has saved Sam in the past, Sam owes him a pretty big favor, but nothing prepares him to hear that the favor Mac wants is for Sam to fly to Hawaii to pose as Mac’s sister’s nanny.
Sheridan has haunted Sam’s thoughts since he literally fell into her crocheted bikini cleavage in college and hearing that her now-ex-husband abandoned her and her new twins has him nothing but indignant on her behalf. But Mac isn’t in intelligence for nothing. Knowing that Sam comes from a huge family and is great with kids and can cook makes him a reasonable cover as a nanny hired to help Sheridan. That Sam can also wield a gun like nobody’s business is also vital as the ex is resurfacing and Mac believes him to be a threat. However, Mac makes Sam swear that he will help Sheridan, keep the fact that he’s a Marine a secret, and not touch Sheridan at all.
Sheridan can’t believe that her new manny is smokin’ hot and that she can’t remember meeting him when he was Mac’s college buddy, although the circumstances appear to have made a big impression on Sam. She desperately needs another pair of hands and can’t help but feel like a failure as a Mom. After suffering through an overbearing military father, brothers, and former husband, she’s had enough of men who think they outrank her when it comes to her running her life. Now that her stripper-bonking ex is sniffing around again, she knows her oldest overprotective brother is only looking out for her in suggesting his friend fill in as nanny, but accepting help means admitting she can’t pull it off on her own. But her twins love Sam, he’s amazing in the kitchen and, she suspects, amazing in the bedroom as well. The fact she can’t keep her hands off him is not sexual harassment if her brother is the one who hired him, right?
Clearly this is a train wreck waiting to happen. Our hero and heroine are perfect for each other but a relationship built on a lie has got a cracked foundation. Any woman will empathize with Sheri’s feelings that all other mothers are naturals while she’s fumbling to make things work and there is no warm-blooded woman alive who won’t swoon for Sam. This is no overbearing alpha asshole; Sam is a sexy nurturing beta happy to switch on his alpha when Sheri or the babies are threatened. I found myself tearing up when he sang the “Halls of Montezuma” to the boys or cooking and cleaning so Sheri could sleep.
My only wish (and it’s a minor blip on the awesome book radar) was that Sheri’s ex-husband’s actions were a little more explained. Obviously he was a total dick having left her like that, but a little more about their non-relationship or a better understanding of why he suddenly was so unhinged as to want to get back together would have made him seem more of a threat. The supporting characters were outstanding while never taking over the story. This is a good thing considering that this novel is the first in Fenske’s new series, Front and Center. Considering the ending, it’s obvious that the next book is going to focus on Sheri’s brother, the mysterious Mac, and Kelli, Sheri’s veterinarian friend who has had the hots for Mac for some time now. I, for one, will be looking forward to reading their story. And there is still another brother we haven’t met, who I imagine is as sexy as Mac. An abundance of riches, indeed!
Keep in mind Entangled’s new policy of having their new books at the $.99 price for the first week or so – you’ll want to hop on board that price if you haven’t had a chance to enjoy Fenske’s work before (and you’ll be congratulating yourself on the great bargain if you have).