“Honey, somebody’s got to teach you how to misbehave. You’re doing it all wrong.”
Program Director, Amber Clark appears to be a typical “goody two-shoes” girl on the outside. She’s nice, smart, responsible, but appearances can be deceiving. Although Amber exhibits all of these admirable qualities, her inner desires and fantasies tell a different story. While closing down her workday at the Camelot Community Center, a tornado siren sounds. Amber realizes that she will have to wait out the warning at work but she will not be alone. Tony Mazzara, the foreman of the crew doing renovations to the Community Center, is the hunky “Italian Stallion” Amber has been crushing on and lusting after for some time now and he is the only one left on the job site with her when the siren sounds.
“…his voice was rich and dark and delicious. He wasn’t a big talker, and maybe that was because his voice was such a valuable substance, he had to ration it. She might actually be able to live on it for the next week.”
Amber and Tony are complete opposites. Tony exudes a confidence and commanding nature that is solid and sexy, but there is also a darkness looming within him. His outer self-confidence only hides an honest self-loathing underneath. Amber in many ways feels like she is living a lie within herself. She’s tired of being good, being cautious and doing the right thing. She’s tired of being safe. She wants to taste a bit of wildness that has lain dormant inside her for a long time.
“Strange to think that one afternoon could redirect her, reshape her—but maybe all she’d need was a reason. A desire that made becoming different more important than the safety of being the same. Someone to reach for.”
When Amber and Tony take shelter in the basement together to wait out the storm, the lights go out and they are forced to endure the dark. Amber quickly learns that Tony has a phobia of the dark and in order to take his mind off of their situation, she starts awkward conversation which leads to flirtation and ultimately an attraction that neither can deny. You quickly learn that the dark can draw out the honesty and vulnerability of a person and that is what begins to happen for them both. Tony believes that he is unworthy of happiness (we later learn why) and Amber believes she is unworthy of anything beyond sex with Tony. Both soon discover when they trust their gut and their hearts, the outcome may be beyond what either one could have ever envisioned.
“If she wanted him, he had to try to be the man she saw when she looked at him. He had to try because God knew he wanted her. She could be his future. For the first time in as long as Tony could remember, he wanted to have one.”
Ruthie Knox packs a lot of punch into a mere 100 pages. It’s rare that an author can craft a well rounded story and meaty characters that completely satisfies the reader in the form of a novella, but Ms. Knox has succeeded and established a solid foundation to what I believe will be a fabulous series. If you are an avid reader of Ms. Knox’s work, you know she always creates imperfect yet sexy and lovable characters that breathe life to the pages and take you on a sweet, sexy journey. As the reader, you find yourself making an instant connection to her protagonists and you invest in their story and their quest for an HEA. Sometimes quirky, always sexy, Ms. Knox pens authentic qualities of a human being throughout her characters resulting in sexy and intimate couples that are enthralling to read.
How to Misbehave delivers all the heartfelt emotion and hot, sexy goodness I love in contemporary romance. This is how a novella should be written. You don’t feeling like you’ve missed a thing and you are wonderfully satisfied in the end. You can’t ask for more except maybe for one of Knox’s heroes to land at your door!
“I have a sword,” he said. “But it’s not tiny.”
“If you want to swashbuckle again, I’m game.”
“Was that some kind of romantic declaration, disguised as a filthy pirate sex offer?”
“Yes,” he said.