Rating: 4 stars
Stephanie Evanovich brings back two characters from her first book, “Big Girl Panties,” in her second story “The Sweet Spot.” It’s the story of famous, flirty and fabulously wealthy baseball player Chase Walker and Amanda Cole, a restaurateur and voluptuous beauty.
“Big Girl Panties” readers have wondered about Chase and Amanda, whose relationship was already settled in that book. It all seemed so deliciously kinky and mysterious.
Now that story has its own book, and it’s quite the steamy story.
Amanda Cole is not having a good day when Chase and his obnoxious agent dine at the Cold Creek restaurant. Amanda does not impress easily, and Chase’s agent’s haughty and rude behavior has ensured that she won’t like either diner. But Chase is impressed and determined to win Amanda over.
When she doesn’t bite and accept his invitation to dinner, he proceeds to camp out in her restaurant. He’s there every day for dinner. People begin to hear about it and flock to the restaurant for the chance to get a picture with him or an autograph. Finally, on the third week, something happens, and Amanda finally agrees to go out with him.
Their relationship begins sweetly, but Amanda is reluctant to get too involved because Chase Walker, baseball darling to millions, is sure to get bored with her and move on. She’s not as slender as the models he’s been seen with, and she isn’t a society debutante. She underestimates him in that respect.
The third person narrative alternates from Amanda’s point of view to Chase’s, and it’s fun for the reader to know what both are thinking — and how they both grow to respect and learn about each other. But it’s when Amanda finds out Chase’s “flaw,” or his kinky desires, that she has to decide if that’s something she likes.
And she finds out she does. This is where readers who are uncomfortable with anything other than straight sex scenes might get uncomfortable. Chase likes to spank women, and since meeting Amanda, she’s the one he wants to spank. Amanda gets into it, acting naughty and giving Chase the opportunity to “reprimand” her in the manner he enjoys most.
Feminists may take exception to some of the explanations in the story. Chase explains to Amanda, “If you remain, your job is to stay beautiful and think up ways to entertain yourself. Hopefully, most of them include me. My job is to cherish and protect you. Fulfill all your heart’s desires…And make sure you mind your manners.”
But is there anything really wrong with unconventional sex between two consenting adults who enjoy it? And when their secret is accidentally flung into the public eye, will Amanda be able to weather the storm of public opinion that is coming as quickly and turbulently as a tornado?
Evanovich’s writing is confident and sure. She creates dialogue that is authentic and situations that ring true. Her characters are well developed although readers will probably feel more comfortable with Amanda than Chase. He’s a tough guy to relate to unless you’ve known extremely successful athletes. Evanovich writes as if she has. If not, she’s done her research well.
If you’ve never read “Big Girl Panties,” read “The Sweet Spot” first to get to know the characters and the action in chronological order. But either way, both books are fun, light reads that are as perfect for reading by the pool as they are for snuggling up in bed on a cold winter night. Both are guaranteed to warm you up plenty.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, William Morrow, for review purposes.