This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Ann MG. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Erotic Romance and Best First Book Categories.
He’ll teach her how to bring a man to his knees…
Dr. Ellie Swan has a plan: open her practice in tiny Bluelick, Kentucky, so she can keep an eye on her diabetic father, and make hometown golden-boy Roger Reynolds fall in love with her. But Ellie has a problem. Roger seeks a skilled, sexually adventurous partner, and bookish Ellie doesn’t qualify.
Tyler Longfoot only cares about three things: shaking his bad boy image, qualifying for the loan his company needs to rehab a piece of Bluelick’s history, and convincing Ellie to keep quiet about the “incident” that lands him on her doorstep at two a.m. with a bullet in his behind.
The adorable Dr. Swan drives a mean bargain, though. If sex-on-a-stick Tyler will teach Ellie how to bring a man to his knees, she’ll forget about the bullet. Armed with The Wild Woman’s Guide to Sex and Tyler’s lessons, Ellie is confident she can become what Roger needs…if she doesn’t fall for Tyler first.
And here is Ann's review:
A love triangle is a direct, concrete way to explore two positions. Have I changed since I was in high school? Do I prefer the bad boy or the nice guy, footloose or settling down? In Private Practice, however, one of the choices is named Roger, and thus not quite loaded with suspense.
Unfortunately, which guy will be our heroine’s choice is not the only non-surprise Private Practice has in store. Does bad boy, Tyler, have a responsible side? Yes.
Can good girl Ellie learn to drive a man wild in bed? Babe, she does even without lessons.
Considering that the novel is billed as erotica, we don’t see much sexual experimentation—lots of heated kisses that hint at passions to come, but for more than the first half of the novel, Tyler and Ellie have to get back to being responsible citizens before the sex siren lessons can continue. The experiments aren’t very exotic and don’t proceed very far before Our Heroine decides that nope, this isn’t her cup of tea. Her tutor predicted that, but he reassures her that she’s plenty hot without props.
The triangle must be resolved, of course, and it blows up according to the clues that have been dropped in the previous chapters. Although the setup was predictable, it was the one spot where the characters’ reaction clonked for me. If they think X, then surely they wouldn’t do Y, but eventually everyone gets to have the clarifying conversation with whom they need to have it, and Roger can explain to his parents that their first mistake was naming him “Roger.”
In spite of my lukewarm feeling about this title, I’d be curious to read more by this author. It’s her debut, and I felt a bit like I was watching a figure skater’s technical program, back in those days, where she proves she has mechanical mastery before getting out the sequins and dramatic music and triple lutzes. The characters are regular contemporary folk, not wounded billionaires or sheltered misses, and their management of regular contemporary life did engage me.
One trope the author deploys is one of my favorites: the unsolicited leap to Honey’s defense. “How could So-and-so say such a thing? Don’t they recognize your true worth?” the outraged love interest declares, warming the heart of the intended: “They get me! They really get me!” Such scenes warm my heart, too, whether or not the characters recognize that the momentum has shifted, because the deck has tilted too much now to do anything but fall in love. In subsequent novels, perhaps the author can develop this emotional satisfaction via more unexpected events.