Review: Naughty Stranger by Stacey Kennedy

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Author: Stacey Kennedy
Series: Dangerous Love #1
Release dayJune 11th 2019
Pages: 384

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After a sudden tragedy blew her world apart, Peyton Kerr fled her big city career and started over in Stoney Creek, Maine. So far, she’s loving small-town life–no one knows about her past, and her easy flirtation with Boone Knight gives her a reason to smile. But then someone is murdered in Peyton’s store, and her quiet, anonymous existence is instantly destroyed. To make matters worse, Boone–a police detective–is assigned to the case, and Peyton knows she can’t keep him at arm’s length any longer. She’s resisted the simmering heat between them–but now this gorgeous man is promising to keep her safe–and satisfied…

Boone Knight doesn’t want the complications of a relationship. But when he volunteers to protect his town’s newest–and sexiest–resident, he finally admits he’d like to explore their sizzling attraction. And after one incredible night, everything changes for Boone. Peyton is sweeter–and braver–than anyone he’s ever met, and with her in his arms, everything makes sense. He just needs to convince her to trust him enough to reveal her secrets, or risk losing her to a merciless killer who seems to grow bolder with each passing day.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This book has been hard to rate. On one hand, it has been a nice surprise that the mystery part is an important part of the story. On the other hand… when there is not someone bleeding, the book gets boring pretty fast. At the end, it feels like a nice first step for a saga, but it could have been handle better.

Through the pages of the book we meet Peyton, a young widow who is desperate to have a fresh start and regain some kind of happiness. In order to achive that, she drops her job as a nurse and goes to live to a small town to be the owner of a lingerie shop. There (in the town, not in the shop) she meets Boone, the hot detective. To add some spice to a pretty basic plot, a murder takes place in Peyton’s new shop…

In my opinion, the best part of the book is the mystery surrounding the murder and its link with Peyton. Those parts are the most enjoyable and the ones that add a good pace to the story. They are fast, well-timed and packed with different levels of action. It is a big surprised, actually. Reading the blurb, I thought the murder was going to be something in the background barely touched, but its presence is much more meatier than that. I really like that and I hope the next books follow the same pattern. Being said that, the mystery is also pretty simple and way easy to solve. Not only the who, also the why. The author drops too many clues to the reader and few suspects, so it is easy to add 2 plus 2. It is actually a bit weird that four detectives and Peyton were incapable of solving it sooner…

Too bad the nice mystery plot is paired with a truly unremarkable romance. Why on the name of all that is holy did they have to kiss in the prologue? Yes, the prologue!! Something like that pisses me off so badly. I felt robbed of everything good of the first steps of a blossoming romance. Where are the banter, the flirting, the playfulness and the eagerness to meet each other before going all in? They kiss, they ignore each other, then talk again and… sex. With one rule: nothing serious. But, somehow, by the end of the book, that rule is ignored and we, the readers, are punished with one of the most absurd and unrealistic proposals I have ever read. Zero sense. It is starting to sicken me the concept of a wedding as the only possible happily ever after. At the same time I was reading that, my mind was writing its own What if? where Peyton was revealed as the true murderer to make the last pages bearable.

If to a bad romance you add uncharismatic characters you obtain a bunch of really boring pages that made me wish for another murder to stoke my interest in the story. Fair is fair. The characters work just fine, but they are a bit simple. There is barely any sense of humour or talks about simple things. All conversations are heavy weights for the soul and it is tiring. Not even when the hunky cops are united the atmosphere gets lighter. They are too serious for their age. So, I didn’t enjoy the love/sex scenes with the main couple. I can’t believe in their relationship. I challenge them to tell me just one hobby of the other one. Their favourite food, or colour, or book or something other than the tragedies of their lives. They DO NOT know each other. I can’t buy their love, sorry.

When my interest in the romance is low, I tend to get annoyed by other tiny details that have no importance, but it is how my mind cope with the boring parts. For example, it upsets me greatly the fact that in Maine is not mandatory to use helmet. The stupidity of that is not the author’s fault, but I was very surprised by the fact that Peyton doesn’t make any remarks about it. She was a ER nurse. She must have seen dozens of wounded bikers who saved their lives thanks to the helmet. And her first husband died in a car accident. I find pretty unbelievable that she is so nonchalant about the fact that Boone doesn’t use helmet while riding his bike. If she really cared…

I could point out more situations where I read too much into them due to my lack of interest for the romance. Like the slowest ambulances in the world to make the hero be the first or a sex scene in an abandoned greenhouse that was use by drug dealers… Very, very romantic… But that’s all on me.

Does the bad win over the good parts? I would say it has ended in a tie. I will read the second book and hope with all my might that the romance between Remy and Asher is better.

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5 thoughts on “Review: Naughty Stranger by Stacey Kennedy

  1. LOL! I love your review. I also dislike when they specifically say, this is just a “have fun” thing then suddenly at the end of the book it oh yes” I LOVE YOU, Let’s get married” without much of a lead up! I am still very intrigued by this synopsis and cover though. I may just give it a go!

    Liked by 1 person

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