The Kissing Game Mass Market Paperback – 1 Aug 2009
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About the Author
After childhood plans to become the captain of a starship didn t pan out, Suzanne Brockmanntook her fascination with military history, her respect for the men and women who serve, her reverence for diversity, and her love of storytelling and explored brave new worlds as a"New York Times"bestselling romance author. Over the past twenty years, she has written more than fifty novels, including her award-winning Troubleshooters series about Navy SEAL heroes and the women and sometimes men who win their hearts. In addition to writing books, Suzanne Brockmann has co-produced a feature-length movie, the award-winning romantic comedy"The Perfect Wedding, "which she co-wrote with her husband, Ed Gaffney, and their son, Jason. She has also co-written a YA novel, set in the world of her paranormal Fighting Destiny series, with her daughter, Melanie. Find Suzanne Brockmannon Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her website to find out more about upcoming releases and appearances."
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In the kissing game our heroine (poor, struggling with several jobs including being a P.I.) finds herself with a very wealthy client who wants her to track down a person who used to vacation on the island. This person is likely linked to her first kiss, a boy who she loved but disappeared. Along for the ride is Simon, her best friend's brother whom she's loved forever but he's a bed jumping commitment-phobe so she's steered clear romantically.
The reason for only 3 stars is that to me it was just OK. There's no real intrigue, danger, or suspense in the novel. The characters are predictable in a so-so plot that just didn't light my fire. The whole "hero who bed jumps because he is afraid of commitment and then realizes he's more afraid of loosing his lady love so acts" plot line is a tired one for me. That said it had it's moments where I was very entertained, and some detail that S.B. delivers that kept me page flipping to the end.
I don't consider it bad, it just wasn't great for me.
For the most part this is your straight up contemporary romance, there isn't any suspense and it's not a totally original story either. However Brockmann gives us relatable and amusing characters along with a tropical setting and enough of her own unique ideas and quirks that you can't help but enjoy the ride. She also doesn't fall too far into the usual clichés required from a serial romance which gives this a somewhat original feeling. With a couple of steamy love scenes (I don't think they ever actually made it into a bed) and an unforgettable, sigh worthy ending this gave me everything I could possibly want in a romance.
We first met Simon and Frankie in KISS AND TELL as the womanizing brother and private investigator best friend of Leila Hunt. Despite Simon's introduction as a complete man-whore I liked his character and could tell that as soon as he stopped playing games there would be more to him then initially believed. Frankie also piqued my interest as the bumbling wannabe P.I, speaking her mind, having adventures and refusing to take crap from anyone. These two have been friends since childhood, essentially growing up together and although in recent years they'd started to "notice" each other it hadn't ever crossed their minds to act on this growing attraction.
When Frankie gets hired for her first real case -looking for the missing heir to a Sunset Key estate, she quickly gets in over her head and through some hilarious circumstances asks Simon to act as her assistant. Initially Simon, an antiques dealer is only after his own interests wanting to sell the furniture from the property. However when the missing heir turns out to be Frankie's long lost first love a new emotion reveals itself to Simon, that of jealousy. Suddenly he's seeing Frankie in a whole new light. When she unexpectedly returns what was up until then an innocent game of flirting, everything changes, leaving Simon feeling another emotion for the first time, love. Frankie is of course aware of Simon's reputation so she tries to keep her heart out of the deal while he tries to prove that he's changed.
The case leads the couple to Boston with some movie worthy scenes involving the hotel concierge and Simon finding and telling Frankie how he feels before she falls for the missing heir. The ending here was fantastic, just when you think its all neatly wrapped up theres a couple of great twists. I especially liked the very moving fake diary entries.
As I read the story, I felt like I was visiting an old friend who I hadn't seen in years or like I was slipping my feet into the most comfortable of shoes. It reminded me of why I read Ms. Brockmann's books. (And as this book was originally published in 1996, I recognized her earlier writing style).
In these times of uncertainty, this book will return you to the romantic, classic story which so many authors have neglected in the last several years.
The hero of this book is Simon Hunt, thirty-six-year-old brother of Leila Hunt, the heroine of Book 1, and his romantic interest is thirty-year-old Frankie Paresky, Leila's best friend.
Like Simon, Frankie has lived all her life on Sunrise Key, a small island near the Western Panhandle of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Frankie has no desire to live anywhere else, though she's often had trouble making ends meet. Recently she became licensed as a private detective, and she alternates pursuing that career while also driving the only cab on the island. Simon has made a habit of teasing her since she was a child, and the Sherlock Holmes jokes at her expense have been far too many since he discovered her PI aspirations. But then one day a rich client shows up on the island and offers Frankie a chance to trace down a missing heir to an estate on the island for a huge salary and a potential $10,000 bonus. Simon immediately volunteers himself as Frankie's Watson, partly because as an antiques dealer he is dying to get his hands on the expensive antiques in the mansion on the estate in question. But mainly because he is dying to see Frankie in action.
Similar to Book 1 in this series, the hero has known and teased the heroine for years, and both have secretly been attracted to each other for over a decade. Simon hasn't approached Frankie because she's not the type of woman he can just have a quick affair with and forget--he gets restless after three weeks, tops, with any given woman, and therefore he's always stuck to tourists. Frankie has avoided Simon because she doesn't want to get her heart broken. Due to the case, for the first time in their lives Frankie and Simon are spending a great deal of time together, often in very close quarters. It soon becomes impossible for them to deny the passion they feel for each other, and their romantic journey is both humorous and breathtakingly passionate--and often heartrendingly poignant and tender as well.
This is a great continuation of a fun trilogy and well worth the read for Brockmann fans. For fans of romantic comedy in particular, it is a wonderful treat from one of the best romance writers in the business.