That First Kiss (Night Calls #2) by J.C. Valentine
Genre: Adult, Romance
Source: Review Copy for Tour
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Mercurial and charming, Tate Larson is a rising author and playboy who has a different woman on his arm every night of the week. Focused on his work, Tate has no plans to settle down any time soon. That is until he meets his pretty new assistant, Piper Donovan.
Desperate to escape the promise of backwater living, Piper ditched her Alabama hometown and never looked back. That was almost two years ago. Now that she is out of a job and her bank account is running on fumes, she’s desperate to find a job, fast. She finds the break she is searching for when she lands a position at Bookish Temptations. A little dancing and a lot of drinks with the girls seem the perfect way to celebrate. After a brief but explosive encounter with a man she was never supposed to see again turns out to be the same man she will be bending over backwards to please, her every instinct tells her to run. But when running means leaving the life she has struggled so hard to create, Piper decides her only option is to continue working for the devastatingly sexy Tate Larson...even if it kills her.
Unable to deny their growing attraction, they struggle to keep their distance in a relationship that requires anything but.
That First Kiss doesn't waste any time. We meet Piper Donovan, formerly down-on-her-luck, who just landed a new job and goes out with her friends to celebrate. There she encounters an enigmatic (and of course smokin') stranger and allows herself a little extra celebration in the form of a frenzied, anonymous hookup in the club's bathroom. All is well and good until she later learns said hookup's name... and meets her new boss. Because her one night stand and boss are the same person - none other than Tate Larson. And while she knows that's more than enough reason to walk away, she needs this job. So she's willing to stick it out. No matter what Tate throws at her.
The sexual tension between Tate and Piper was abundant and completely lacking in subtlety. If it weren't for the fact that Piper gave as good as she got, Tate's blunt propositions would have been borderline obsessive sexual harassment, but as it is they're just highly antagonistic towards each other. Inappropriately so at times, but at others it brings out the best in the other.
As characters, Piper was a very typical female protag for the genre while Tate fell squarely in the asshole-you-come-to-love category. The one thing I really did appreciate about Piper's character was that she didn't completely wilt to Tate's domineering nature, which can be really common in books like this. It made their courtship feel much more evenly matched, which is great because too much "vulnerability" in the female character generally just makes her seem weak next to her male counterpart, and who wants that?
There aren't a whole lot of surprises plot-wise, but it's exactly what you're looking for in a book like this. You get your circling around each other, rife with flirting and tension; the initial give-in, when everything seems hunky dory and the HEA is within sight; followed closely by the implosion of the burgeoning relationship; a quest for forgiveness; and then, finally, the actual HEA, bringing on the warm fuzzies like nobody's business. And also leave you wondering who in the world estimated that driving time (which makes absolutely no sense now, but it was a question that plagued me towards the end of the book).
That First Kiss was a steamy, fun read that'll make you laugh, love, and possibly contemplate murder. Because really, Tate? Really. If you're a fan of pretty douchebags (check), sexual tension (check), and eventual swoony romance (triple check), this will be a great read for you.
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J.C. Valentine is the alter-ego of Brandi Salazar, whose enjoyment of erotic tales of romance spurred her to branch out and create her own.
Brandi Salazar lives in the Northwest with her husband, their wild children, and far too many pets. As a university student, she studies literature, which goes well with her dream to become an editor. Brandi entertains a number of hobbies including reading and photography, but her first love is writing fiction-in all its forms.