Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: 3
Truth and Lies, Book Two
Up-and-coming designer Lindy is going through a lot of changes. A fabulous career opportunity, a big show at a local art gallery and even a promising flirtation with the town’s most eligible bachelor. It’s a lot for a shy, small-town girl to handle. Now if she can just find the time (and nerve) to seduce her sexy neighbor Richard.
Lindy’s wanted Richard since college, and her unrequited crush hasn’t lessened now that they live in neighboring lofts. A wickedly handsome ladies’ man, Richard isn’t boyfriend material. Lindy knows that. But she suspects he’s perfect for the job she has in mind—getting rid of her pesky virginity once and for all.
Art of the Lie is the second book in the Truth and Lies series by Delphine Dryden. I didn't know that when I picked the book to review, but now that I do the first book and the rest of the series are definitely going on my TBR (to be read) list. I have been mostly reading paranormal books lately so a straight up contemporary novel was a welcome change, but beyond that the story was just good. There is a quality to Ms. Dryden's writing that is familiar, I mean that in the best way possible. It is not "oh I've heard that story line a thousand times before", but more like a favorite movie that you might know every line of but you still watch constantly.
What attracted me most to the story was the concept of a 26-year-old virgin, such a thing is a rarity in today's society. Of course, Lindy's solution to her problem was more of a throwback to times when wooly mammoths walked the earth. Some indigenous tribes would gather in the spring to trade, gossip, celebrate, and of course have fertility rights. Any female that had reached puberty during the winter would be deflowered, so to speak, at a ceremony during this festival, this would signify that she is ready for marriage and now a woman. The men chosen for the task were skilled hunters, or crafts men, the best and most virile that the tribes had to offer, to ensure the girls would have the most pleasurable experience possible. The men chosen for this honor were not allowed to interact with the girls after the ceremony for one year, due to the girls propensity to fall in love with the men. Ok that's all for today's history lesson. Lindy's plan was a slight variation of the practice, seduce her friend and neighbor, Richard, and be done with her pesky virginity forever. It was a good plan too, Richard was a trusted friend with the inability to commit and the necessary expertise to make the whole situation a lot less awkward. What Lindy failed to count on was the fact that like all those girls long ago she too fell in love. Of course having known and had a crush on Richard since college probably didn't help her much in that regard.
I love Ms. Dryden's sense of humor from the groan worthy puns, that still make you smile, to the delightful situational comedy, like the pink scarf that was accidentally displayed to look like a vagina, to her ability to simultaneously use and mock common phrases from romance books, like deflowering and throbbing loins, and of course the friendly and slightly flirtatious banter that Lindy and Richard are constantly engaged in. What I especially liked was that the humor was not overdone, nothing was thrown in just to get a laugh. Everything flowed naturally, you could really see the conversations taking place in real life, rather than just wistfully thinking if only like could be like that.
Rather than telling the story only from Lindy's perspective Ms. Dryden switches seamlessly from Lindy's to Richards point of view. It's very effective for showing the emotional progression of them both as they realize and try to deal with the fact that they are in love with each other. Although, as Lindy keeps pointing out, they keep getting the order backwards as their relationship progresses, having an orgasm before making out or getting tied to the bed naked before expressing feelings of love. While the order of their courtship might not follow traditional lines being able to see its progression from both Lindy and Richard's perspective makes you realize that it is proceeding exactly how it should for them. It also gives the reader a chance to revel in the delightfully perverse pleasure of seeing Richard jealous after Lindy starts to date another man.
I really enjoyed watching Lindy and Richard find each other, their relationship might deviate from the norm but it was fun to see the progression. I look forward to reading the other book in the series.
4 Tea Cups!