Monday, July 12, 2010

Every Night I'm Yours

Every Night I'm Yours by Christie Kelley

Avis Copley is 26 and plans to remain a spinster her entire life after witnessing her own parents' disastrous marriage. However, after discovering a quite racy novel in her late fathers possessions she finds herself eager to experience at least one part of married life. She decides that her friend and fellow writer, Emory Billingsworth, is the perfect candidate. Her best friend, Jeanette Talbot, is horrified when she finds out Avis's plans, but her brother, Banning, the Earl of Selby, is even more so. He and Avis have been arguing for eight years ever since he wagered that he could kiss the "Ice Maiden" before anyone else. He succeeded, but it has left quite the trail of bitterness between the two of them. But he knows that Emory is the absolute wrong choice for Avis as he has experience dealing with the consequences when Emory unleashes his anger out on young women. He lies to Avis to get her to call off her search and then offers himself up as a replacement. Avis is at first furious, but after one kiss, she realizes that Banning might be a better option after all.

The two head off to Banning's country cottage, planning for two weeks together before calling their relationship quits. Banning began the season planning to find a wife and even before their fortnight away he plans to make sure that that wife is Avis. He has set up the bedroom next to his a place for her to write and over the next two weeks they work together on her writing and he is quite a bit more helpful than Emory ever was. Although Avis still refuses to believe what he is telling her about Emory, she knows that Banning would never hurt her the way her father hurt her mother. Unfortunately she still is not sure that she will not one day strike her own children so she refuses Banning's proposal. He is horrified, but even more so when she continues to refuse him after they return to London. When the two are forced to come face to face again at a country house party where Emory is also in attendance. He comes between the two lovers, and Banning is forced to confront his own fears about death while Avis needs to overcome her fear that her anger will lead to something she regrets and they must do it to save their love.

Wow! This book is a perfect example of why you cannot judge an author based purely on one novel and I am very glad I did not. After reading the sequel to this, "Every Time We Kiss," I had decided to give this one a shot before spurning future endeavors and I can say that if I had read this one first I would have been sorely disappointed with her second effort. I loved Avis and Banning as individual characters and they were even more perfect when paired up. I know that it's not the most original of romance novel plots, to put together two characters who have spent their previous times together bickering, but it is done so well and, hey- it's a staple because it's fun to read about- that I definitely did not mind. I felt like there could have been some more angst over the wager he made over the kiss, and it would have been nice, but there was plenty of emotional turmoil throughout the book. Her fear over becoming like her father was a tad overdone, but it really lent something really special to the book and was certainly a more original fear of marriage than some other novels.

It was also nice that Banning was so quick to realize that he wanted to marry her and that he loved her. And I especially liked that even after he admitted his feelings it did not "magically" solve all their problems. Sometimes I have trouble with novels that pick up with two characters who already know each other as I feel I miss a lot of the development that I like, but I really did not feel like that in this book. When the two of them went off to the country cottage there were many specific instances where we could see how these characters were perfect for each other, such as him setting up the other bedroom for a writing room, their walks in the gardens, the scenes where they proofread her work and he is so encouraging to her. Once at the cottage they engaged in quite a lot of sex that was at least somewhat hot if not exactly spicy. There was the little plot involving Emory Billingsworth and it was obviously very integrated into the story as it really set things in motion. It provided some good conflict for their relationship, it did not at all interfere with reading about their romance, and it paved the way for the big duel at the end.

Rating: Loved the book! Great characters, great romantic development with a nice little conflict plot thrown in. Would have liked a little more excitement or ooomph!

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