Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Lieutenant Alejandro Cruz
Heroine: Caitlin Summers
Date of Publication: March 25, 2009
Started On: March 30, 2011
Finished On: April 1, 2011
Apart from the cover of this book which I just loathe, I loved every single thing about this very hot and well done novel by Lisa Marie Rice. Previously released and entitled as “Taming Nick”, A Fine Specimen tells the story of how Alex, the lieutenant at Baylorville PD falls like a ton of bricks for the sweet, sexy and beautiful Caitlin Summers.
38 year old Alejandro Cruz (Alex) lives and breathes police procedure. Alex had grown up in one of the poorest ares of Baylorville with an alcoholic for a mother and a drug addict for a father. Alex had been on his way to becoming one of the most notorious punks in the area when his mentor and chief of the police department Ray Avery had seen something inside of Alex that had taken Alex years to see. The qualities that had made him a top notch badass had been trained and honed into making a perfectly lethal law enforcement officer, who had steadily climbed the ranks until Alex is to be the one to replace Ray upon his retirement the coming month. But Alex’s dedication had come at a price by turning him into a man who exists for his job alone, a man who has nothing else to look forward to in his life.
28 year old Caitlin Summers is a mix of adorable klutziness with an IQ that would amaze a lot of people. Caitlin had grown up with two parents who had loved and adored one another. Her father had died when Caitlin was quite young and it had been Caitlin’s utter determination and drive that had kept and seen her through school and university to become a double masters holder in behavioral psychology and sociology. Her latest research which relates to “Dominance Displays in Law Enforcement” brings her to Alex’s territory for a week, to observe the dynamics of police personnel and their behavior.
Caitlin is shell shocked to say the least when she meets the very formidable lieutenant to whom Ray has sent her to. From the first moment, her awareness of Alex runs deep which is returned in full force by the man who hasn’t cracked a smile in years. Alex is at first alarmed and a trifle bit impatient when the dainty and beautiful Caitlin shows up in the midst of one of the most important missions that Baylorville PD has embarked upon to-date. With great reluctance, Alex agrees to Caitlin’s request and what follows is a journey of sensual discovery by two people who are irresistibly drawn towards one another as moths towards a flame.
Alex’s fascination for anything to do with Caitlin slowly chips away at the formidable walls he has built up around his emotions and heart for 38 long years. A man who is practical to the core, Alex is the complete opposite of Caitlin who brings a kaleidoscope of colors into Alex’s world of black and white. Bit by bit, the amazing woman that Caitlin is slowly turns him around, making Alex yearn for things he leaves unsaid for far too long – until fate nearly wrenches from him the very best thing that has happened to him in his life.
A Fine Specimen is a tad different from the novels that I have read by Lisa Marie Rice to-date, a fact which I reveled in as I read along. I loved the fact that this story wasn’t focused on a sinfully sexy alpha hero who is hell bent on protecting the dainty and beautiful heroine from bad guys at all costs. Rather this story focuses on the relationship that develops between Alex and Caitlin, taking the reader on a journey that shows how Caitlin’s sunny and klutzy nature perfectly complements the tough as nails nature of Alex.
The love scenes are of the erotic variety but done tastefully, which is always a big plus point when it comes to novels by Ms. Rice. Her ability to paint with words – yes I would call it that, leaves me breathless at times, making me feel as if I am a vital living being in the story that unfolds. Alex is a sinful addition to my alpha male hottie list, a man who knows how to take care of his woman in all the right ways. A Fine Specimen is certainly a delightful surprise if you can find it in yourself to go beyond the guy on the cover, who looks too full of himself if I may say so, which serves as a complete turn off when it comes to books. But beyond that is a story that is a delight to indulge in, a hero who surpassed all my expectations and managed to raise the yowzastic factor of the novel quite a bit with his inherently focused nature. Though I felt that the ending seemed a bit rushed, I would still give this 4 stars because I just absolutely love what Lisa Marie Rice can do with her rough and tough heroes and her beautiful and dainty heroines.
I finish off the review with peek into one of the many times during the story that Alex loses the internal battle he wages with himself when it comes to Caitlin, a loss that they both enjoy to the max and delights the reader in so many little ways.
Her mouth tasted as luscious as it looked, without the syrupy sensation of lipstick he now realized he hated. She was so delicious he didn’t even do what he usually did – make it a delicate, tentative kiss until he got signs from the woman that his advance was welcome.
No, sir. He dove in, licking, sucking, biting, as if she were a cream puff and he were a starving man.
It was like plunging into a sea of warm, fragrant flowers that caressed him back.