The Autumn Review
Way Too Hot Books
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Series: Sexy Capers #2
Genre: Erotic Romance/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: 11/5/13
Source: Received from publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars
If the Feds want to nail a Mafia kingpin, they need a trap. Enter Mark Sullivan, totally built for the job-to go undercover as a male stripper in the mobster's Vegas club. The club's owner, Nicki, is an unexpected perk. But Mark and Nicki have more in common than sizzling sexual chemistry. They each have their share of secrets, and with the mob closing in, what gets exposed is as irresistible as it is dangerous.
Shayla Black is an author's who's been recommended to me time and again as I've ventured more into erotic romance. I own several of her books, including the first in this series. It was time to see if I would fall in love like many other readers.
I liked Strip Search, quite a bit. The writing was good. The characters were challenging and fully-developed. The sex was crazy hot. Strip Search read as romantic suspense, as well as erotic romance, which is a good thing because I am currently enjoying the heck out of romantic suspense. Here's the story: Mark is investigating a money laundering scheme, and it centers around Nicki, the owner of an exotic dance club. Mark apparently is gorgeous and sexy, so to get inside, he signs on as a dancer. Fun, right? Readers are quickly clued in to whether Nicki is involved, but poor Mark is not. He's all tied up in conflicting feelings due to the betrayal by his ex-wife, the similarity of that situation to what might be going on with Nicki. He wants to believe Nicki is innocent, but a lot of signs point to her guilt. It doesn't help that the two want to get it on basically from the moment they meet. What happens when you fall for the woman you're investigating? Or even better, what happens when she finds out that while the man she's fallen for might not be lying about his feelings, but he has lied about so, so much?
Once Mark is established in the club, Strip Search sort of moves into a holding pattern. It basically goes like this: intense and suggestive flirting; the tension builds until Mark and Nicki are left clawing each other's clothes off; wicked hot sex that leaves the vulnerable and reeling; self-loathing on Mark's part for sleeping with the possible enemy; Nicki is left confused, hurt, and vowing to never sleep wit Mark again, but the next time he makes his move, they're at it again. Repeat cycle (again and again). And honestly, though I got where he was coming from, Mark was a gigantic ass to Nicki. This rotation of events went on for a large portion of the story, and I admit, it began to get old. I think Black was being true to her (very stubborn) characters, so I don't know that things should have gone altogether differently, but it did eventually bog the story down, for me.
Where Strip Search hit the mark, besides that fun premise, is the intimate, sexy scenes between Mark and Nicki. The scenes were good 'n plenty. Mark is a really dirty talker, and that's always a big ol' tick in the Win column for me. Mark and Nicki were passionate individuals who started off using sex as a way to get off, and because their chemistry was crazy hot. But as the story continues and their relationship and the complications developed, it became a way to express their emotions and passion. It spoke volumes.
I did like Strip Search, despite having an issue with the repetitive plot. I will definitely be reading more of Black in the future.
She closed her eyes. "Nothing good can come from this."
No doubt, she was right. After all, Nicki was a suspect.
But with every word, every scrap of resistance, she tested the unraveling thread of his patience. He'd never found himself so hungry, so demanding of a woman, felt such a deep need to have her full cooperation in her own surrender. Something about Nicki...She had to submit utterly; he wouldn't accept anything less. ~pg. 165
"Open them," he demanded.
She frowned. "What?"
Mark smiled at the raspy tone in her voice. "Your eyes. Your legs. I want all your secrets bare for me." pg. 238
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Sexy Capers Series
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