Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reviews: Afternoon Delight by Ann Calhoun

Afternoon Delight
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: 9/16/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 164
Source: Publisher

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Sarah McCall, food truck co-owner and recent Manhattan transplant, savors each moment of her new job—whether it’s refining the truck's menu, learning the city, or spending afternoons in bed with the hot paramedic who's fast becoming her favorite customer.

Tim Cannon spends his days sprinting from one emergency to the next. He eats like he works—at top speed—somewhere along the line he lost his ability to enjoy life's simple pleasures. Hooking up with Sarah is just another way to cope with the stress of his job, until their afternoon trysts coax Tim into enjoying everything he's avoided. Can Tim learn to balance his job saving lives with the everyday delights that make life worth living? If anyone can teach him, it’s Sarah.

First Line - Lieutenant Tim Cannon sat in the ambulance's passenger seat, one elbow resting on the open window, eyes on the side mirror, as the newest EMT backed the bus into the bay.

So that's an inauspicious opening line for what turned out to be a great novella! Though I'm very selective about the books I take for review, something about this one kept niggling at me. I liked the title, it makes me think of the song Afternoon Delight from the 70s. I was especially drawn to the hook of the story, two busy people, looking for an afternoon escape. An escape that turns into a friendship, a love?, and gives these two a reason to stop running.

In addition to the nice premise, Afternoon Delight delivers fascinating and endearing main characters in Tim and Sarah. Let's start with Tim Cannon. He's a sexy, sexy man who delivers the three Bs: big, blond and most importantly, bearded. I believe Sarah even refers to him as very Thor-like, so....yeah. I'm sure you're getting the idea now. But as much as I'm enjoying objectifying this fictional man, Tim is more than just good looks. He's a dedicated public servant, saving lives on a daily basis with respect and kindness given to each patient. It seems, though, that between his job and having spent years caring for his grandparents as their health declined, Tim is exhausted. To get through his day, to keep the future and the worries it brings away, he's charging through life, barreling through each moment on adrenaline. He never slows down long enough to worry or decompress. He doesn't want to commit to life, beyond the moment.

Which makes it very serendipitous that Tim meets and falls for Sarah. Sarah is new to NYC, coming off two years in which she put her life on hold to care for her dying aunt. The Sarah from before was a bit like Tim, at least in that she wasn't too worried about the future. Those two years changed Sarah immensely, and now she needs something more. What makes this connection between Sarah and Tim so great is what she brings him. She's just as brave and upfront as Tim, doesn't back down from the challenges he throws at her. In fact, she almost always ups the ante on him. But Sarah has a distinct quality that fascinates Tim, she is fully present in each moment. She relishes experiences that Tim rushes through, such as enjoying a meal, and extremely glorious foreplay (which is where their challenges often come into play). Sarah's a chef, giving Tim attention and care through the food she makes for him, the experience of actively caring for him by dedicating her time to creating a fulfilling experience.

So the crux in Afternoon Delight is the distinct personalities Tim and Sarah bring to the table, his inability to slow down and the fact he doesn't want to even think about the future and what that means for him and Sarah. She brings him comfort that's been missing from his life, but what happens if he doesn't want that from her? If he's not comfortable considering more? These questions, the realizations that come from really looking and digging deep within, the growth it offers Tim and Sarah -both of whom I adored- and the deliciously naughty interludes and the mouthwatering food, this is all what made Afternoon Delight such a joy for me.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Favorite Quotes

  "What do they call this? Afternoon delight?" Working away at the laces of his other boot, she didn't expect an answer and didn't get one beyond slight curve of his lips that made his blond beard glitter in the sunlight. "It feels naughty, having sex during the day. Everyone else is busy, working, running errands, but we're here. It's a secret in the sunshine."

  "You love the slow burn," he said. "You love it just as much right now as you did when you had me at your mercy."

  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the saints in heaven. She was standing in his building's hallway, dripping rainwater, skin glowing, wearing underwear straight out of his lingerie model dreams. Her adorable little belly pooched over the top of her panties just a little, and it was so Sarah, so perfectly, rightly Sarah, life just spilling out every goddamn direction, that he nearly went to his knees to worship her. In that moment he understood the male instinct to worship the rounded, ripe female body. It was life, alive, so fucking alive.

Anne CalhounAfter doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, I found myself living in the suburbs of a small Midwestern city. The glamour of various cube farm jobs had worn off, so I gave up making a decent living to take Joseph Campbell’s advice and follow my bliss: writing romance.
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  1. Lol I thought of that song too, Andrea. But my goodness does this little story sound so much more than just a little afternoon delight. It seems to have that emotional punch I like. And that last quote sealed the deal for me. Lovely review and I'm glad you loves this one. :)

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much Andrea! I liked it but had some big hang ups with it unfortunately. I do like her books though so will definitely read more in the future :)

  3. It is so hard to do novellas right but this one sounds like it hit the mark! Honestly, you had me at "Thor-like" lol. Great review!

  4. "I believe Sarah even refers to him as very Thor-like. . ." how can I refuse to read it, then?? ;) Thanks, Andrea, I'll definitely go check this standalone you so loved!

  5. Why didn't I like this Andrea??? I don't get it - I should have loved it. lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  6. I've read one book by Anne Calhoun and I really enjoyed it. This sounds delightful. And if the guy is described as Thor-like, then I can't resist one bit! :P
    Lovely review! :)

  7. Great review. This seems like one I might enjoy as well.

  8. *singing AD*

    4.5 and a well developed novella? Sounds like a winner to me.

  9. lol - That song plays in my head every time I read the title. I regret not grabbing this when I saw the ARC list. I might still give it a try when I get the chance and want a quicker read.

  10. You had me at food truck! This sounds really cute and fun. Great review!

  11. Oh, that last quote really grabs my attention, Andrea! This sounds like a hot, realistic type of romance that I'd love. Great review! :)

  12. Oh what I cover! I really like it and here I thought that red is not my color. Anyhow I really love books where we have contrasted characters but they fight to find the same language. Not to mention realistic romance. Cheers to that. Great review, Andrea :)


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