Review: By the Book by Nancy Warren

Format: E-book
Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #85
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Luke Lawson
Heroine: Shari Wilson
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 1, 2003
Started On: February 6, 2011
Finished On: February 9, 2011

I just had to get this book after reading its blurb on Amazon. Nancy Warren shot into the list of authors to be definitely checked out time and time again after I read and reviewed her book My Fake Fiancee which was my first Nancy Warren and an unforgettable one at that. So taken away by the blurb, I found myself with the book loaded onto my Kindle, ready to indulge in a story many have reviewed to be hot, hot, hot and then some more hot and this title definitely lived up to my expectations in that area.

28 year old Luke Lawson is a journalist who works from home and the only son from his parents 4 children. His father’s lifestyle isn’t one conducive of a committed man and he is about to get married for the 5th time when the story begins. The combination of Luke’s charming smile, tall, rangy body and the twinkle in his green eyes with a hint of devilry in them makes Luke a definite hit with the ladies and he is quite comfortable with his happy and carefree lifestyle as the cynic inside of him believes that he is just like his father and would never have the potential to be in a committed relationship of any sort.

Shari Lawson is an English teacher for high school kids and lives above her totally hot neighbor Luke Lawson whom she has been eying for quite some time now. A dyslexic postal worker who keeps mixing up their mails lends both Luke and Shari the opportunity to drop in and see the other and all the while the sexual zing between them is hard to ignore for both of them. The night Shari decides to take matters into her own hands so to speak, she encounters Luke with a how-to-guide on sex, i.e. Sex for Total Morons – A How to Guide written by a Lance Flagstaff which makes Shari do a total 180 degree turn on acting upon her attraction towards Luke.

Luke doesn’t know whether to fall at a heap at his feet in embarrassment about being caught with a book that he has authored and he has no clue as to why he doesn’t own up to the fact that when it comes to women and hitting the sheets, he is quite the ladies man. Luke who has been hankering for Shari for quite sometime decides to hit 2 birds with one stone and make use of the opportunity to test out whether his philosophy published in the book works in real life and get Shari into his bed, and thus strikes up a deal with Shari to help him along from Chapter 1 – 4 in the book in return for his presence at the wedding ceremony of her ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend; all the while never owning up to the fact that the how-to-guide was authored by Luke himself.

What follows is funny, endearing and so very hot that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, sigh over every now and then and find myself unbearably flushed from one moment to the next as the story progressed. Both Shari and Luke who are reluctant to look for anything more with the other than just their attraction towards each other finds more than each of them bargained for as things heat up between them. Shari takes it upon herself to tutor the shy Luke in the art of pleasing a woman and finds herself totally overwhelmed when Luke hits all the right spots, in and out of bed. And the extremely commitment phobic Luke finds himself slowly and irrevocably falling in love with the wonderful woman he finds in Shari who changes his views about love, life and commitment once and for all.

I liked the gradual build in Shari and Luke’s relationship and the fact that they didn’t just straightaway jump into bed, but rather built up the sexual tension in a believable manner which does great things for the reader as well. I found myself totally caught up with Shari and her best friend Therese’s conversations – because they were so funny and I couldn’t help but laugh on Therese’s logic when it comes to men and their prowess in the bedroom. The side characters were wonderfully done for a novel such as this one and the sensuality just rocked at all levels and went  totally off the charts when both Luke and Shari try to seduce the other. Totally dig the love scenes in this one. And I won’t read a “Chapter 7” after this without getting a little hot around the collar after this one! *grin*

Though I loved so many things about this story, I found myself a bit disappointed in the abrupt manner it ended. Everyone knows that I am always a sucker for a good epilogue and I just know that an epilogue would have done wonders for this one. Would have loved to see Luke and Shari and their happily ever after sometime after the last chapter in the story ended.

I also didn’t get to see how Luke resolved his issues with being commitment phobic as a result of his father’s carefree nature when it comes to relationships, marriage and women. I would have loved to see Luke interact with his father and maybe see Luke’s father through his eyes, maybe at his father’s wedding so that I would have felt better about Luke’s total turnabout towards the end of the novel.

Favorite Quotes

“Haven’t you ever gone home with a really great-looking guy and all he talks about is himself?” (Therese says)
Shari nodded. Oh, yeah.
“Then they get in bed and it’s still all about them. One time I said to this guy, ‘I have a clitoris you know,’ and he asked if it was contagious.”

Before she finished her thought, she felt him whirl her body round and slap his lips on hers, hot and demanding. Her pulse jumped and her heart started to race. His mouth soothed and demanded, offered and possessed, so she felt dizzy with conflicting sensations. She sighed softly and leaned into him. As she’d guessed, he tasted like cold  beer, but there were hints of hot male there too. Instinctively she responded, until he pulled away, leaving her aroused and unsatisfied.

Recommended for fans of the Harlequin Blaze line stories, fans of Nancy Warren and anyone who loves a light contemporary romance that can make you tingle all in the right places!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo



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