Pub Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin)
Length: 313 pages
FTC: e-ARC provided by the publisher
After reading and enjoying the Harlequin Presents novel just after Christmas by author Maisey Yates, I went looking for anything new by her. Then I stumbled across this title on Netgalley. I'd been seeing vague hints on Twitter about the book that comes after this one...with the heroine named Amber...so I decided to risk requesting the galley. I'm really glad I did.
The heroine of Untouched is young. Much younger than most of the heroines you'll see outside of YA or NA these days. But this isn't an NA. It's a fully realized romance novel. And while 22 seems incredibly young to me at the ancient age of mid-thirties, I was married at 21. So I'm not going to be too judgey about that. I'm not even going to be judgey about the 10+ year age difference between Lark and Quinn. But that doesn't mean there aren't some problems with the novel.
As I've complained about ad nauseam on every site I'm on, there seems to be a dearth of strong voices in fiction these days. But Maisey Yates has a fabulous one, sarcastic and hilarious, which I really appreciated. Much of the story is told through dialogue, which also helps develop the characters. And we get a nice variety of POV here, which helps a bit when our hero, Quinn, is a grade A ass.
I really, really loved that although our hero is a rough and tumble bad boy, freshly banned from the rodeo circuit, he's also articulate and smart. No stereotypes here, thank goodness.
Yates is extremely quotable. I found myself highlighting throughout the book.
"I don't have very much in the way of honor, but I'll defend what I've got."Some of my notes are of witty one liners; others are simple, cliched even, but powerfully delivered.
"Well, congratulations on your penis."
"Is there a name for the kind of person who just wants to feel safe?"As is the case with most of the more memorable books, both characters grow and change throughout the story. Both have issues that drive the conflict. Lark's are her inexperience, her fear of failure and experiencing new things. Quinn's are more complicated: he wants retribution for a false accusation that ruined his career. He also struggles throughout the book with a feeling of isolation and unworthiness as a result of childhood emotional trauma.
"Human," he said.
Sometimes when you have two characters with wildly different sexual experience, there's a bit of a squicky feeling. Like one partner is at an emotional disadvantage. And while it appears to be the case as the book begins, the reader is shown through Quinn's POV that he's just as confused, just as unsure as Lark is. Which is vital, I think, given the age difference here.
He swallowed and cursed his dry throat. Another discomfort to add to the ones he was already struggling with. The woman was a menace. She should come with a list of side effects tattooed to her forehead. Lark Mitchell: Known to cause sweating, dizziness, erections lasting longer than four hours and dry mouth.
My only real complaint is that the I Love You Part devolved into an extended mutual grovel/treacly session, which weakened the ending for me. And that was a damn shame, because some of the writing was powerful, heart-meltingly genuine, and unique. It wasn't enough to ruin the book for me, but it did pull me out of the story enough to lower the grade for this one. I know, I know, some readers love the grovel, and it's subjective. But my eyes were rolling.
Overall, this was a winner, and I CAN'T WAIT FOR AMBER'S BOOK. *ahem* Sorry 'bout that.
My Grade: B+
Having never left the family ranch, Lark Mitchell needs a little adventure—or at least a romance that isn’t confined to the internet. Her older brothers Cole and Cade have always been too good at protecting her innocence, but even they can’t stop her from taking a second job—where her boss just so happens to be the kind of bad boy she craves. Too bad he’s also the one guy in Silver Creek she should never touch…
When Quinn Parker introduces himself, Lark tries to quit on the spot. Everyone knows Quinn was behind the accident that ended Cade’s rodeo career. But when he holds her to her contract, she can’t help wanting to get even closer. As she begins to see the man behind the gossip, she sees that not all of the things people say about him are true…even if there’s plenty about this bad boy she has yet to discover.