Here's another old review I'm only now getting around to posting. I read this one about a month or so back and really enjoyed it.
Author: Jessica Bird
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Moorehouse Legacy #4
Grade: 4 out of 5 stars
As far as bad boy Spike Moriarty was concerned, Madeline Maguire defined female perfection. When they'd met, she'd walked up as if she wasn't the most gorgeous thing on the planet and asked to see his tattoos. He - a tough guy who'd make grown men run - had just about passed out. But their connection was definitely one-way...it had to be. Because he could never be the man in a million she was looking for, not with the things he'd done and seen. So for as long as she'd let him, he'd give her whatever she wanted. He'd worry about her walking away when it happened.
Before JR Ward decided to write paranormals about ass-kicking vampires, she wrote as Jessica Bird and wrote contemporary romances. I think I decided to buy this book based on a review over on Dear Author. I can’t quite remember. I already knew JR Ward had previously written under Jessica Bird and I was willing to buy one of her books based on a good review.
A Man In A Million was a pretty straight forward read compared to some of the books in the BDB series, which can have up to five different plot threads running at once. While I often love multi-layered plots, it was also nice to just focus on the hero and heroine. Spike is a French chef with a tragic past that he keeps hidden. After getting dumped by his ex over the issue, he believes no girl would want to stay with him if she knows the whole story. He keeps things casual so no one gets hurt. Pleasantly enough, he doesn’t come off as a womanizer either, but a nice guy who cares about his friends and sister. Mad is a competitive sailor, and though she’s fierce on the water, she is still insecure after always having being verbally put down by her overbearing father and now her step brother. A lot of the book revolves around her learning to stand up for herself, which Spike supports her through.
One of my absolute favorite aspects of this book was comparing it to the BDB. To begin, let’s look at the character of Spike himself.
“Spike was wearing a black leather jacket, a black-button down and a pair of black slacks. His jet-black hair was sticking straight up off his head in all directions, but instead of looking unkept, the jagged peaks emphasized the hard lines of his beautiful face. His big body filled the doorway. The hall. The whole apartment as far as she was concerned.
Oh, God, his eyes… Those incredible, impossibly yellow eyes were still hidden under heavy lids and thick lashes. And the tattoos… On either side of his neck, two elegant, curving designs marked his skin. In his left ear, he had a thick, silver piercing.”
Let’s see, does Spike fit the prerequisites of the Brotherhood? Wearing all black, including leather- check. A very large, imposing body- check. Tattoos and piercings- check. The only thing missing is a random “h” inserted into his name and then he’d be in Lesser-slaying business. A major difference between the two books, though, was that “combat boots” was used in place of “shit kickers”. For some reason I get the feeling that Silhouette wouldn’t have gone for that…
I would have rated this book a 4 just on the fact that Spike could have been a Brother, but I enjoyed it overall as well. It was fairly unique, especially for a Silhouette, which I don’t usually go out of my way to purchase.
First off, Spike and Mad know one another before the beginning of the book, and are already crazy about each other. So in theory it should be smooth sailing to a happy ending (yes pun intended since Mad is a sailor), especially since their mutual friend is playing matchmaker. But of course the book has the Big Misunderstanding. And not only does it have the Big Misunderstanding, but it has quite a few little misunderstandings along the way. It was pretty easy to forgive Spike and Mad though because, unlike most characters, they didn’t let the misunderstandings simmer. They actually bothered to go talk to each other! It was nice to see two characters repeatedly working things out, especially since communication is so important in believing the relationship with succeed. Also, the sex scenes were pleasantly steamy. I will never look at a motorcycle the same way again.
One touchy subject is that throughout most of the book Mad does have an eating disorder, which is not outright stated or dealt with. It seems odd that this isn’t mentioned since Spike’s profession is a Chef, ya know, food related and all. But by the end of the book Mad works out in her internal monologues that she’s going to start eating again, so in a way it is dealt with. It just seems an odd part of the plot since it wasn’t explicitly linked to her self esteem as other incidents in the book were, but rather lumped with her obsession with her training schedule.
Overall, I’d recommend this to any J.R. Ward fans, or any Silhouette fans who are looking for something a little different. It was worth going a little out of my way to find online (which isn’t my usual m.o. for book buying) and I’m also considering looking up some other Jessica Bird backlisted titles.
In other news...I managed to finish my final paper for Grammar at 12:45... 15 minutes to print and get to class! I won't say it was the worst paper I ever wrote, but it ranked in the worst five. What really upset me was about half an hour after turning in the paper I realized I had a cold. This could not be happening! I still have two exams and two final papers due next week! The okay part is that it's less than 48 hours later and I can breath through my nose again, so there is hope.