R2. Mr. Right Next Door by Teresa Hill

Year Published: 2007
Pages: 303

Pairing: elementary school teacher and secret agent
First Sentence: Kim Cassidy grinned like crazy as she made her way off the plane at the Atlanta airport and into the arms of an exasperated-looking blond giant of a man who happened to be her brother.
Climax: Shockingly they don't actually have a simultaneous orgasm, so there isn't a good example of this.

So, this one goes out to all the exhibitionists in the crowd. By which I mean that this is the book for you if you like to fantasize about Peeping Toms, or at least a universe where all the Peeping Toms are attractive secret agents.

Still, there's a (albeit overt) Star Trek reference in the author blurb, and a genuinely funny bit where "our hero," secret agent Nick Cavanaugh, shoots a cat, which makes me wish I could go a bit easier on this book. But no, it was shitty, just like The Farmer Takes a Wife and all the other romance novels I've condemned myself to reading.

Kim Cassidy is a sexy/adorable 24 year-old Southern belle who travels alone and gets into various sorts of scrapes. The latest: a pirate attack on her cruise ship. These are racelifted diamond thief pirates, not Somalians, and Kim falls in love with one of them, Eric. She doesn't actually know that he's a pirate, and thinks that he saved her life. Nick is 38, and he has aches and pains and oral sex skills. He also suspects Eric of being a pirate and is assigned to watch Kim to see if she's also in on the crime, or whatever. He also literally has a major hard-on for Kim throughout pretty much the entire book. Like, he's basically delerious with lust and can't focus, because she has such a bangin' body, and wears what both of them refer to as a "slinky robe."

There isn't much more to say, because it's obvious what happens. I'm leaving out the boring bits, but basically Kim and Nick do each other, and then Eric the Pirate shows up to collect his diamonds and Nick saves Kim's life and then they bang some more, this time offscreen.

This book rises above The Farmer Takes a Wife by virtue of the cat incident (the cat just gets grazed by the bullet, and there's unexpected comedy gold in the phrase, "You shot the cat"), and the character of Harry, who works with Nick and is a dirty creeper but also has some actual personality. But once again we have a case of very poorly developed characters and very clunky writing. I swear the book is about 75% sentence fragments that each have their own paragraph.

I swear.

Nothing but fragments.

Good God.

It felt oddly sexual and oddly not.

And her mouth... Oh, that mouth.
Just yum.

Which made Nick think of the old Elvis song, "All Shook Up." Which he was sure she'd never heard of, because she hadn't been alive long enough. Would she even know who Elvis was, let alone how well that particular song fit him right now? (She's 24, not 6. -M.R.)

"Yes. You think parks planners are magically immune to the craziness in the world these days? You think anyone is? I mean, you just got shot at by pirates, after all."
"Yeah, but I'm not living with a loaded gun under my pillow."
"Well, maybe you should," Nick said. "And I don't keep it under my pillow. I keep it between the mattress and the box spring."
"I don't care where you keep it. I care that you have it and that you shot the cat," Kim said.

"If you're a parks planner, I'm Miss America—"
"I'm sure you could be, if that's what you wanted—"

She probably had bruises from that little encounter.
Not that she seemed to mind, judging from the way she was sleeping, melted against him like warm butter.
Naked, warm, sexy butter.

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