I'm probably better off if I don't go wandering into libraries. The plethora of free books can be a little too inviting, and suddenly I'm walking home with an armful of books that I don't have time to read. I hear some people talk about trying to make time to read like it's a chore they feel bad about neglecting (although I'm guessing most Cannonballers don't feel this way). As for myself, I am the opposite. I constantly use reading to procrastinate on what I should be doing (or in this case: writing up a review when I should be doing my taxes). I love reading: it's a great way to learn, it's great escapism, and I feel like I'm doing something useful--most of the time. Even the first time I read Pride and Prejudice was in college while I should have been reading my assigned reading, The Secret Agent.
And that brings me to Sweet Talk (2012) by Julie Garwood. I vaguely remember being somewhat disappointed in Garwood's last book, so I didn't have her on my "to read" list. However, when I walked into the library and saw her latest title sitting on the "New Fiction" shelf, I had to grab it. And then I read it in a day. Even though the Cannonball-romance-reading cadre, led by Mrs. Julien, have gotten me into some historical romance, I usually lean towards contemporary romance--something with some mystery and adventure thrown in to make it more exciting. And I've really enjoyed some of Garwood's books, so I'm not going to give up on her that easy.
Sweet Talk centers around Grayson Kincaid and Olivia MacKenzie. They are both attorneys, which I think is supposed to make them more appealing, but doesn't really work for me since I am an attorney. Grayson works for the FBI and Olivia works for the IRS. When Olivia stumbles into the middle of a sting operation during a job interview, Grayson saves her from an irate bodyguard. Later, when Olivia is almost murdered, Grayson is ready to protect her and solve the case.
I certainly can't say this was a bad book when I read it in a day. I was curious enough about the characters to want to know what was going to happen to them, and it was easy to keep reading. And it wasn't bad. Although, it did feel too much like Garwood's other novels: a protective FBI agent and a woman in danger. Both leads apparently liked each other because they were the smartest, best-looking, nicest people on the planet--who both just happened to be single. And the exposition forced into some of the dialogue felt less than subtle. But it was worth a half day of free entertainment.
I do have one pet peeve, though. Garwood's hero often "roughly twisted her [the heroine's] hair into his fist and jerked her head back." That's not sexy. Hands in your hair is sexy, but jerking your head around by your hair? That really seems more abusive than passionate to me. Maybe if she just hadn't used the word jerked? It reminds me of the guys that lead their girlfriends around with their hand on the backs of the women's necks. I don't know why that bothers me so much, but I hate it. Holding hands, arms around each other, arms around a woman's waist or shoulders is totally fine, but one hand up on her neck makes me cringe.