The Misfit Brides, Book 3
Heat Factor: Innuendo only
Character Chemistry: Sweet
Plot: Two people, three cats, one iguana, and a lot of ice cream
Overall: Quick and charming read
Smittened is one of those romance novels that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and then just a few hours later, all of the details had left my mind completely. In a word: fluff. Now you’re probably thinking: jeez, Holly, I thought the whole point of The Smut Report is that you guys are reclaiming Smut and taking it seriously as a genre and not denigrating it as “fluff.” That’s true, but in order to really do that I think that I have to acknowledge that some Smut is fluffier than others. (ALSO! There’s nothing wrong with a book being fluffy; I just get annoyed when people declare that ALL Smut is by definition, fluff.)
In Smittened, we meet Dahlia, a struggling ice cream shop owner. See, Dahlia always believes in the good in people, so when he last boyfriend asked her to loan him some money, she gave him her savings. And then he ghosted, as you do. Which means that she is barely above water financially. In a last-ditch effort to drum up some business (have I mentioned that it’s the middle of winter?), she is planning an adults-only tasting of special flavors with names like Chocolate Orgasm, Cherry Popper, and Sexual Favors.
(Note to Ice Cream Flavoristas: I would absolutely buy ice cream called “Chocolate Orgasm,” given my ongoing quest to find The Best Chocolate Ice Cream Money Can Buy.) (Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate is my current favorite, in case you were curious, and no, they do not sponsor me, but I will gladly take some free ice cream to talk about how delicious it is.)
By the way, these risqué flavor names are about as explicit as this book gets, if you’re not into lots of details about sex.
Mikey is the drummer for and best friend of this uber-hot country singer who just happens to be in town. Dahlia figures that if she can get said singer to come to her event, then she’ll sell all the tickets and everything will be golden. And it also just so happens that she is in the right place at the right time when Mikey is in need of some emergency housing, so she offers him a place to stay.
The central conflict basically boils down to: Dahlia and Mikey are attracted to each other. They both deny the attraction. They both want to help the other person. But neither feels like they can accept a hand-out, and each fears being used, so there’s a bit of wariness there.
They bond over ice cream. Specifically, Dahlia’s prototype recipe for Chocolate Orgasm. (Seriously, ice cream makers, I am not kidding here.) Then they have some nice interactions and everything goes well for a bit.
But then Dahlia meets The Girl Who Got Away, and Mikey can’t deny that he still loves her. So Dahlia is convinced that Mikey just played her, and Mikey is convinced that Dahlia used him to save her business. Of course, neither of these perceptions are true, so there’s a bit of Mikey having people tell him how dumb he is about women, and then they have a nice scene where they make up and eat more ice cream.
A sidenote on narrative voice: Mikey’s voice is really good. He is a solid southern boy from Georgia, and Farrell nails his vocabulary and the cadences of his speech. Generally I find written accents really irksome, but Farrell does this well, perhaps because she is consistent and sticks with a few key markers (“I might could do that for you, sweetpea.”) This cadence carries over into the portions of the book which we see from his perspective, even though the narration is 3rd person omniscient. So I really felt like I knew Mikey even though, since this is a novella, there isn’t actually a lot of information given about any of the characters.
If you’re looking for something sweet to read in a few hours, preferably while you eat some truly decadent ice cream, this book would be a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
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