Genre: Contemporary Erotic
Format: eBook via Netgalley
Length: 123 pages
Publisher: Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin (September 15, 2013)
Promising career: check
Amazing apartment: check
The best of friends: check
Sex life: MIA
There’s just one thing missing from Gia Renyard’s life: sexual adventure. And the one man she’d like to have it with is her hot co-worker, Luke Monroe. If only company rules didn’t prohibit her from asking him out. So Gia comes up with a plan: make herself over into a fantasy seductress, follow Luke to a convention in Sin City, and have her way with him for one erotic weekend. The man will never even know who did him.
Everything is going according to plan—until Gia discovers that Luke is perfect for her outside the bedroom too. And suddenly she’s no longer content to let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas…
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Book Extras: Read an Excerpt
A Girlz Guide to a Rockin' Life Words of Wisdom…When life gives you lemons, make yourself a whiskey sour and read a good book.
Okay, so that might not be true words of wisdom from the Girlz Guide, but I needed a fun opener for the review and I figured, it worked for the author of this novella, so why not give it a shot?
Fearless is a fun, quick read about a young woman named Gia, who feels like she simply can't complete with the raunchy stories her three best friends tell about their adventurous sex lives. She wants a story of her own! A wild weekend of mind-blowing sex because, well, what girl wouldn't want that kind of story? But she feels like she's just not that kind of girl, so she asks her Girlz for help. They come up with a plan for Gia to disguise herself in order to seduce the pants off of Luke Monroe (literally), a hottie coworker she's been eyeing (and who, coincidentally, will be transferring jobs soon!). The plan is for no-strings-attached, anonymous, wild, fantasy sex on a Vegas weekend during a work conference Luke will be attending.
Luke Monroe is one of those guys who's always had things go easily for him. He's effortlessly excellent at his job, and he's never had to try too hard to land and please a woman. So when he meets gorgeous and mysterious Vanna, agreeing to some fantasy sex is almost a no-brainer. But after an amazing night where she challenges him like few others ever have, she disappears while he's passed out from exhaustion, and he finds himself…discontent. Suddenly changing jobs doesn't promise an alleviation from his boredom, so he decides to stick around and try something else.
Which means now Gia has to worry about him discovering that his coworker is his mysterious Vanna, and there's also that whole fraternization clause in the employee contract that might cost her a job.
Not to mention the whole hiccup where it turns out, she actually likes Luke. Really likes him. That was definitely not part of the plan.
I really enjoyed this novella. It was wonderful to see four female friends who supported one another with absolutely no cattiness. Even Caryn, the character who was least inclined toward serious relationships (or seemed to be), urged Gia to face her feelings for Luke and do something about them. None of the girls tease Gia about her desire for a fun weekend, or shame her for her fantasies. There was none of that passive-aggressive that occurs sometimes when authors tackle female friendships. This felt like a solid foursome of women who genuinely liked and cared for one another, with no desire to elevate themselves by putting the others down.
I also appreciated that Gia's transformation into Vanna was not an effort for her to "earn" the guy's love and affection, but rather a disguise for her to enact her own sexual autonomy. She felt liberated in the disguise, sure, but not necessarily because she felt more attractive. More because it felt like a way for her to be free of consequences she would otherwise distract herself with. Becoming Vanna was not about making her "worthy" of Luke, but rather about letting herself be free of the Gia-reasons to not go after him.
Additionally, her transformation had the pleasant effect of allowing Gia to discover that, even without the disguise, she's pretty awesome. She was able to uncover her confidence even after washing the dye out of her hair, and this enabled her to take the steps necessary that landed her a promotion at work. Gia-as-Vanna also became a catalyst in Luke's growth, sparking him out of his slump, inspiring him to pursue challenges, rather than just skate by in life.
Some parts of the story felt a little rushed--this is another instance where we're told there is attraction rather than being shown it, but I found myself forgiving this, given the way in which the story opened. We were sitting in on a Girlz night, and received the information just as Gia's friends did. I felt like Luke could have been better developed--to me he came off as a little bit all over the place, but this might have been deliberate, given that he was at a point in his life where he wasn't sure of his direction and where he should go in his life.
The ending was a little over the top for me, considering we'd just spent the entire story with Gia fretting about what the discovery of her liaison with Luke would do for her career, but it fit with the story, the theme, and I would be lying if I tried to say I didn't finish this book with a smile on my face.
"Not that I'm against equal opportunity fantasy fulfillment, but I don’t think this is a good idea," she told him, pretending she wasn't forcing herself not to jump on him, wrap her legs around his waist, and say "Let's ride, cowboy."