Nice & Naughty by Tawny Weber


Nice & Naughty by Tawny Weber
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (220 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Christmas scandal is comin’ to town…

He’d better watch out.
Because she’s not at all shy.
She’s looking for a bad boy
And he’s just the guy!

She’s making a list
Because her life needs some spice
And he’s gonna show her
How being naughty is nice…

It’s almost Christmas, and fashion-obsessive librarian Jade Carson is stuck. Stuck with her family, stuck in the town of Diablo Glen and stuck in her lousy life. Then superhot bad-boy detective Diego Sandoval roars into town, looking for a criminal known as “the panty thief.” And Jade decides—right then and there—that the only panties he’ll be touching are hers….

Life has made a renegade out of this hero and being a cop is a hard line to walk when rules, regs and a Captain who has it in for him all scheme to trip him up. Diego is tough, resourceful and is gritting his teeth at being roped in to toe the line. In a hick town no less. The hunky hero is about to find out that small towns can hide big things, like the key to his heart and a lust so huge it’ll make him goofy.

I get the biggest kick out of a story that takes a strong, take charge and goal oriented man and pairs him with a woman who doesn’t fit any mold of any female he’s ever come across. Watching a sexy guy turn into Pavlov’s dog whenever Jade turns her ‘green-eyed pixie’ gaze on him was very entertaining. Realizing that Diego had a horrid childhood and is emotionally starved ended up being a strong lure to keep on reading through to the end. He’s a person who has to control everything, is driven to succeed and will do anything to solve a case. As the hero falls in love for the first time in his life, he finds that solving the case isn’t as engrossing or the top priority as it once was. But is it a good thing or a bad thing? It takes a while for him to figure that out.

Jade is adorable. In the beginning she seems all Suzy Sunshine. As with the sun, the clouds have to come by eventually and dampen the mood. That’s a good way to describe getting to know the heroine. She’s genuine and sweet but she has a few regrets, some unmet dreams and feels smothered by responsibility. What I liked was the volatile chemistry between Jade and Diego. It is the catalyst that brings Jade to life and it inspires her willingness to let go, to explore and spread her wings. It was great to watch.

The cat, Persephone, is the key. Imagining the antics that Jade’s cat gets into around Christmastime and what it does to hapless decorations is one of the cutest and giggle-worthy elements in the whole book. It was a terrific touch and I thought the interactions between the kitty and Diego were wonderful. If there needed to be a little conflict and mayhem, Persephone was more than up to the task. What the cat did do was showcase the best points about both Diego and Jade in their reactions to caring for, chasing or rescuing said kitty.

There were wonderful human secondary characters too, like Mayor Applebaum. He sort of turned into the kind of father figure Diego probably wished he’d had but thought they really didn’t exist. Then again there was that nasty woman at the library that’s more in line with the city rat race that he was used to. Ms. Weber did an effective job in creating a character that I didn’t like. How? That woman didn’t like Persephone and one sentence she uttered was downright cruel. Boo Hiss.

Nice & Naughty has some quality hot-cha-cha going on between the sheets and anywhere else Diego can convince Jade to have a little fun. Because a lot of their coming together was spontaneous and combustible, I never knew when it was going to happen, but due to the strong writing skills that Ms. Weber employs, every scene was steamy, effective and fun.

Although the tug of war between his job/her job, his dreams/her dreams is a typical ploy, and the ‘how’ of the opportunity to fix it all was a bit anti-climactic and predictable, those techniques didn’t detract from this being an enjoyable read and worth spending time with. There were too many smiles and giggles and sweet and funny characters worth reading about to make me not mind.

Most of the story is internal conflict and personality issues between Diego and Jade. However, that’s not all that lurks in the shadows. The author added in a surprise villainy that I never suspected. I enjoy a bit of suspense and drama because it heightens the emotions of both the main characters, and if done right, the reader too. Ms. Weber succeeded and it made the story that much better.

Nice & Naughty is a fun, enthusiastic romance between two characters that brought out the best in each other. It’s not dark and dismal but bright, quirky and adorable except when the author wanted to shock a reader with the extent of the antagonist’s treachery and criminal actions. Ms. Weber dropped clues here and there and only after the big reveal did I remember what I read and put the pieces together. Part of the answer was there all along but the biggest surprise came at the end. That was an amazing round up.

I recommend Nice & Naughty to any reader who is looking for a story that can make them feel happy, a bit flustered in a good way, and who likes a book peppered with good humor and witty dialogue. This novel delivers it all.

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