Monday 14 September 2015

#CBR7 Book 90: "Dirty Rowdy Thing" by Christina Lauren

Page count: 352 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Like their friends Mia and Ansel, Harlow Vega and Finn Roberts had a wild, unforgettable night together in Vegas, where they drunkenly got married. Unlike their friends, Harlow and Finn got an annulment the very next morning. While the sex was amazing, neither of them are entirely sure they even like each other. With the exception of a brief impulsive weekend, when Harlow turned up at Finn's house in Canada wearing nothing but a trench coat, where they spent their whole time together hooking up, they've barely seen each other.

Now their friend Oliver is fulfilling his dream of opening a comic book store, and Finn and Harlow find themselves in each other's company a lot more often. Harlow, who is normally the one who takes care of everyone and everything, solving and fixing any problem thrown at her, has received some very bad news about a family member and is in a new and vulnerable place because of it. Finn, who has been running his family's fishing business since he was a teenager is in California to talk to some investors, as he and his brothers may be unable to run their business successfully without help anymore. Both are used to being in control and the new state of affairs is deeply unsettling to them. What starts out as casual hook-ups to blow off some steam quickly evolves into something a lot more significant.

As far as I can tell, in most of Christina Lauren's books, there is alternating narration from the hero and heroine. Sweet Filthy Boy, the first book in the series, only had Mia's POV throughout the book, this one changes between Harlow and Finn. I liked that a lot more, because seeing both sides of a romance as its developing always feels more satisfying. On the surface, Finn and Harlow could not be more different. Finn is from a small town in Canada, having helped out with or personally run his family's fishing business since he was a boy. He's big and very strong, and not the most emotionally forthcoming, having been surrounded only by men since his mother died when he was a young teen. Harlow is the beautiful eldest daughter of a famous movie star and a successful cinematographer. She works as an unpaid intern about twelve hours a week and thanks to a very generous trust fund, doesn't really need to work at all if she doesn't want to. While Finn initially sees her as a vapid socialite, he quickly discovers that there are a lot more layers to Harlow when he actually spends some time with her.

Like in the previous book, the relationship between the protagonists starts out as purely physical, with Harlow and Finn finding release from their worries in each other. My major complaint with Sweet Filthy Boy was that I felt cheated out of the emotional development between the characters, because all that was described, not just mentioned in passing, was the sex. Possibly because we get the story from both Harlow and Finn's POVs, more time is also spent on their feelings, which gradually change as they keep seeking each other out. In this book, the final quarter, where the big misunderstanding is introduced, is less well handled than in the previous book, but overall, I think I still prefer this one. Not enough to give it another half a star, but possibly quarter of one (I'm not going to start doing quarter stars, that way madness lies).

While Harlow was a secondary character who mainly talked to Mia on the phone in the previous book, although her impulsive visit to Canada was mentioned, there is more time spent in this book on the setup for the next one. Mia and Harlow's third friend, Lola, who also got married in Vegas, but never so much as kissed her husband, Oliver, is spending a lot of time in his comic book store and it's quite clear that while they may just have spent their night in Vegas talking, he is head over heels in love with his ex-wife, patiently waiting for her to notice him, while supporting her in her increasingly successful career as a comic book artist. Just the fact that the next book is going to be about a hot Australian bespectacled, blond guy who runs a comic book store (I'm basically picturing Chris Hemsworth in that photo from the new Ghostbusters movie) and a female comic book artist fills me with so much glee. Their book is out shortly, and I can't wait to read it.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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