In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.
Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.
Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s new-found independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.
“He picked her up. Picked her up and carried her, as if she were Scarlett O’Hara and he were Rhett Butler, if Rhett had been the kind of guy to go down on Scarlett in a doorway. Which, let’s be honest, he probably was.”
So to start off…that quote. I mean, I’ve made no bones about loving Ruthie Knox and her work but then she goes and references my favorite rake of all time, Rhett Butler! One fact we have learned in Flirting with Disaster, Sean may not initially pursue Katie like Rhett did Scarlett, but once he has her, he knows exactly how to handle her! Okay, my Gone With The Wind fangirl moment is over, on to the review. Let’s discuss our main characters.
At first Katie came off as a little immature and silly? When her ex husband left her with no money and a useless business her first response was to come home and wallow. She wallowed until Caleb came and pulled her out by offering her a job. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her after learning that. For most of the book I wasn’t as connected to her as I was to Sean.
Yes, in the beginning it felt like Katie was taking one step forward, two steps back. You knew that her desire for a “torrid and inadvisable” hook up was really a shield she was hiding behind. I felt sorry for her because she was coming out of a marriage she had committed her heart and life to, being used and discarded, and now she believes what she needs is a no strings, no emotional ties relationship with men. And given her background we know that is not the core of the person she is. So for me, it was both frustrating and heartbreaking because Knox’s gives us glimpses of the heart of the person Katie is in between her irresponsible coping skills.
Sean- At first Sean was the one that frustrated me. We didn’t have his back story like we did Katie so the silent treatment he gave Katie started wearing on me quickly during their road trip. I wanted to scream, just try, try to talk to her! You are making it worse by being silent! But true to form, Knox begins to peel away Sean’s layers and we learn thanks to his mother, he’s always felt like a flawed, insignificant person regardless of the successful profession and life he’s made for himself. When he returns to Camelot, we see all of his insecurities swell to the surface and then we start to make a connection with his character.
I have always been a fan of the silent type. Some of my favorite heroes are dark and mysterious so I was crushing on Sean right away. I knew there had to be a reason behind his silence and I couldn’t wait to find out what that reason was. It didn’t really bother me that he was less than talkative. It made me want to peel away his layers.
If Sean had put himself in a dumber situation in his life, he was hard pressed to remember it. Driving to Louisville with Katie Clark was beyond dumb. It was such a bad idea, it deserved its own category. Lost Causes Sean’s Dick Talked Him Into, maybe.
I loved that Sean’s stuttering was situational. He had no issues when communicating with his employees but when it came to Katie, he was a blubbering mess, unless, he was talking dirty to her! Even then, in the moment of passion he could get tongue-tied. In many ways it was an uncontrollable on/off switch regarding his stress level of who he was interacting with and that in itself was sexy. He had a constant internal battle with himself in how he would handle interacting in situations and it was enthralling to see how he would manage the conversation not only with the person but also with his inner dialogue.
“Make her anonymous. Not the girl you fixated on in high school–not the Katie Clark who was one of the only bright spots in an otherwise miserable two years.”
“Make her a nobody.”
What a hot contradiction it was when Sean would talk straight and clear to everyone else except Katie. He was so confident in his interactions with his employees and Judah’s people that it provided such a contrast to how he was with Katie. I thought is was a brilliant way to illustrate the strength of the feelings Katie brought out in Sean. A flawed hero is not something new to romance readers, however this is the first time I read one that stutters.
He hated this place. Hated what it did to him, what it made him feel, how it made him sound. Weak. Worthless. Perpetually coming up short, no matter what he did.
It was fun to see Katie’s attraction for Sean develop as they worked together on the case. Sean has been attracted to Katie since high school but now that they are adults, the social stigma is gone and it’s as if both are seeing each other for the first time.
“She’d developed a geek fetish. Next thing she knew, he’d pull out a graphing calculator, and she’d faint from lust.”
While Sean’s sexual attraction to Katie exasperates his stuttering, Katie’s sexual attraction to Sean causes her to have a runaway mouth when under pressure. It’s a great push and pull dynamic between the two that keeps the reader engaged and smiling the whole time.
“I know you probably figured if we drove at night, I’d fall asleep like I did last time and you wouldn’t have to deal with me, but it’s not going to happen, Buster. I’m not coming off a tequila bender this time. I hate driving in the snow, I’m hungry, and I want to talk to you about the case. Not to mention that I think we probably need to come to some kind of terms with the fact that I still want to screw you senseless.”
I loved how frantic and hot their first time together was. It was like so many years of pent-up passion came rushing to the surface and they couldn’t wait any longer. Katie might have started out looking for someone to scratch an itch but what she got with Sean was so much more. For his part, Sean did not waste any time showing Katie what he was capable of.
“Nice?” he said fiercely. “Nice is a lemonade stand.” He withdrew and thrust deep. “Nice is a picnic on the lawn. This is not—nice. You are not a nice woman. You are fucking—sstupefying.”
Another win of Ms. Knox’s stories is her humor. The flirty, sexy, humorous moments she pens really balance the emotional arc of the story so the reader is not bogged down with all angst. There is always personal discovery within her characters and she does a great job conveying it in fun, lighthearted moments like this with Judah and Katie:
“Oh honey. The things you don’t know about my soul could fill an encyclopedia.”
“It’s so huge, Katie. Huge and …powerful. Frightening, really.”
“I think you’re getting your soul confused with other body parts.
“You think? I could’ve sworn that was my soul.”
I know this was Sean and Katie’s tale but the addition of Judah really made the book for me. It added another layer to the story and allowed for growth of our characters outside of just their relationship. Sean is able to use his brain in new ways and Katie learns more about what she does and doesn’t want in life. This is where I finally began to ‘get’ Katie. She needed time and room to grow and her work with Judah allowed for both of those.
If there was some secret way to keep her heart out of what their bodies were up to, she didn’t know what it was. But maybe it didn’t matter if she got hurt again. With Sean, for the first time in her life, she felt sufficient. He could stay or he could go, and she would remain here, and her adequacy, her value, would have nothing to do with her ability to hold his interest. It was a good way to feel. Progress, if not perfection.
For readers that have never experienced Ms. Knox’s work, her greatest strength as a writer shows in her unconventional and authentically flawed characters. She delivers a clear dose of reality as well as self-discovery to the character’s lives while crafting a beautifully rounded relationship that can withstand the fantasy of the perfect HEA. Knox’s characters are not perfect nor do they ride off into the sunset without a care in the world but the journey to their inevitable love is both authentic and satisfying and that’s what keeps me craving more of her work.
Well, you said that perfectly. LOL Her characters aren’t perfect and that makes them infinitely more likable for the reader. I really enjoyed this book. Katie and Sean had struggles to overcome and they were something I could identify with. In the time of the billionaire and his love slave, it was nice to read about a two people who had bigger problems than what whip or flogger to use next.
I agree Jen. Once again, I’ve enjoyed my visit to Camelot and it looks like my favorite couple of the series, Amber and Tony from How to Misbehave are making a comeback in the final installment of the series. I can’t wait to revisit them in Making It Last in July. I think I can speak for both of us when I say contemporary romance readers should not miss the fun, flirty, sexy, goodness Ruthie Knox delivers to the Camelot series.
Amy: Final Grade B+ / Jen: Final Grade B+
Jen’s Favorite Quote:
“How hard do I have to fuck you to k-keep you from p-picking on me?”
Amy’s Favorite Quote:
“Sweetheart, you are the farthest thing from terminally unfuckable I can possibly imagine.”