Jane Black has written the breakup album of the century, earning her a Grammy, a huge legion of new fans, and the pressure to repeat her success. Sure, the heartbreak from her husband’s unconventional abandonment might have been her inspiration, but it hasn’t done her any favors in the dating department. So when Matthew Harrigan, the toughest music journalist out there, asks for an interview, Jane agrees—as long as her personal life is completely off-limits.
British, gorgeous, and way too tempting, Matthew’s the first guy Jane’s been attracted to since her husband. As she spends more time with him and their relationship heats up, though, so does her writer’s block. How can the queen of the break up pen the perfect follow-up when she’s seriously in love?
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How appropriate is it to read about a songwriter with writer’s block during NaNoWriMo? We’re only a few days in, but believe me, I feel Jane’s pain! We should all have the hardship of such a distraction as Matthew…it might almost be worth losing NaNo for the year.
What am I saying? Heck, yeah, Matthew would be totally worth it…for the British (I’m sorry, English) accent alone! Especially since…no, wait, no spoilers. Read the book yourself. 😉
For the most part, Jane and Matthew are adequately introduced in the blurb above. So let me start with what isn’t up there, and go on from that point. The book opens on the night of the Grammys, before Jane knows that she’s won. She has had three other (widely unsuccessful) albums, and it’s not until her husband crushes her heart that she manages to uncover the emotional depth she needs to write the album that’s going to win her fame and a shiny golden statuette. Walking into the theater she sees Matthew, who is there in his capacity as a critic. They exchange flirtatious words, he asks for an interview, and the whole time Jane knows she has a copy of his review of her (soon to be award-winning) album in her purse, where it’s been since she first read it.
(Interested eyebrow lift here.)
Jane wins, says some inappropriate words up on the stage, and then goes on to the press conference afterwards, where a slimy music journalist outs the reason why her husband left her a year ago–which is not so good–but Matthew also asks her an interesting–and possibly personal–question:
Jane, in your final song on Crushed, in ‘Something Like Normal,’ you sing about opening the door, walking out and finding something like normal. There’s a lovely sort of hopefulness of finding love again. Is there anyone in the wings and do you believe it’s possible to love like that again?
Yeah. How she doesn’t throw herself across the room at him right then and there is beyond me.
With much urging and back-and-forth too-flirty-for-words emailing, Jane agrees to let Matthew do an exclusive on her for his magazine–not only an interview, but also a behind-the-scenes look at her in the recording studio, putting together her newest album. There’s only one teensy, tiny problem–she doesn’t have a single song for that album, and her label has got her on a deadline.
Jane and Matthew start a delicious dance: they both need to try and keep their relationship professional, but find it increasingly difficult the more they see of each other. Email exchanges like this one, after the kiss that should never have been, don’t help:
time: 11:48 AM
subject: Time Travel Tricks Fail
I really shouldn’t say this, but that whole erasing the ten minutes didn’t do the trick for me. I’m still thinking about them.
time: 11:49 AM
subject: Penny For Your Thoughts
Interesting. What exactly about them is on your mind?
time: 11:49 AM
subject: Reporter Cred Zero
The taste of your lips. My hands in your hair. How I could have kissed you all night.
P.S. You should delete this message. It’s not helping my cred as a reporter.
time: 11:49 AM
subject: Man Cred
What about your cred as a man?
time: 11:50 AM
subject: You be the judge
You tell me. Helping? Not helping?
time: 11:51 AM
subject: On a scale of 1 to 10…
It’s high. Very, very high.
time: 11:51 AM
subject: How about thirty minutes?
Now I’m thinking about more than ten minutes with you.
time: 11:52 AM
subject: Or even an hour?
What would you like to do with more than ten minutes with me?
time: 11:52 AM
subject: Could do this for hours…
I would really like to kiss your neck. The hollow of your throat. Your bare shoulder.
time: 11:53 AM
subject: Where do I sign up?
I like the sound of this…
time: 11:53 AM
subject: Damn Black Keys
I bet your earlobe is quite tasty too. I should nibble on it next time I see you. BTW, I have to run, Have an interview with The Black Keys now. And all I’m going to be thinking about it you…
Of course they’re eventually going to give in, and one of my favorite quotes in the whole book (which wasn’t at all awkward to read in the intermission of the hockey game last night with my sixteen-year-old son sitting right next to me, thankyouverymuch. I persevered, though–I’m a trooper like that) was where they finally capitulate:
‘I’m going to tell you something about straight men,’ he says, and then he swallows. ‘When you’re into a woman, and she says she wants to give you a blowjob, there’s never any answer but yes. And now. And let me go hail a fucking cab immediately.’
Awesome smexytimes ensued.
Far too Tempting was definitely flirty and fun, but it had some weightier issues running through it as well. Jane is still working through issues with her soon-to-be ex (the divorce proceedings can’t begin for a year, and finally do get underway during the novel) and is especially affected by the major feelings of betrayal and abandonment that he caused. She’s torn between wanting a relationship with Matthew and worrying that he has a hidden agenda that once again will end up leaving her feeling betrayed and alone. Add in to all that the pressures from her record label to have a new album ready yesterday, and she’s a walking recipe for major writer’s block to beat all other writer’s blocks before it. Matthew is a very private person with secrets of his own, and when Jane does find out something about him that he had been keeping from her, she is sure that their whole relationship had been an act, just like the one with her ex.
I absolutely loved this book. I appreciated that so many characters were writers: Jane, Matthew, Jane’s brother Owen, and his new girlfriend Taryn. I liked that eventually all the characters owned up to their issues and made real progress toward getting over them. I adored not only Jane and Matthew’s relationship, but also the relationships Jane had with her six-year-old son, her brother and sister, her best friend, her parents, her music mentor from her hometown…the list could go on and on. Even the Chinese delivery food guy had a role to play, and he played it well. No corners were cut in the storytelling here: the resolution was believable and well done, and I totally bought into their HEA. This book has it all: witty banter, real drama, and characters with dimension. Oh yeah, and lots of fabulous smexiness. (Yeah, no pressure, fellow NaNoWriMos. None at all. Ah, well. It’s good then that I’m adopting Owen’s mantra as my own, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead and until then there’s caffeine.”)
I used my extra hour this weekend not to sleep, not to work on my own NaNo novel, but to finish this book.
Totally worth it.
A rating. I’m absolutely signing up for more from this author, and soon.
Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise.
Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He’s Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, and Far Too Tempting. On November 21, she’ll release the edgy new adult novel THE THRILL OF IT. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.
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