Under The Covers by Jo Barrett

Under The Covers by Jo Barrett
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jane Walters would love to fall for the right guy, but right now she’s too busy getting her new business open and avoiding her over zealous landlord. In a crazy attempt to avoid his unwanted attentions, she asks her neighbor, Jacob Hayes, to be her pretend boyfriend. But Jacob wants nothing to do with her. He’s been left at the alter once, and that was humiliating enough. Getting mixed up with the sexy new resident of Kings Gap is the last thing he needs, unless…

Agreeing to some secret fun under the covers, doesn’t solve Jane’s problem with her landlord, but it certainly heats up her lonely nights. Only problem now is, how does she keep from falling for the one man she can’t have?

Jane Walters is not interested in a ladies man, and that meant her landlord – Riley — was off limits. Now Jacob Hayes on the other hand sent energy zinging through her, but the man would barely utter more than a few words at her on any given occasion. It was enough to drive a girl insane. Jacob had no time for love. Having been jilted while waiting at the alter, one devastating relationship was plenty to sour him on the concept for life. Yet his thoughts drifted constantly to Jane and the possibilities. When her gentle hints fell on deaf ears, Jane decides the only way to get Riley off her back is to say she has a boyfriend. And Jacob is the perfect man for the job.

I thought this was a lighthearted, fun read. Jacob has his own issues to work through, and Jane is still hung up on a few things in her past, but neither lets their baggage hold them back, or ruin their future by being bogged down in their problems. I felt at times that the flow of the story was slowed by much of the inner thinking and both Jane and Jacob working through their problems alone. A part of me wonders if the book could have kept more momentum going if they’d worked through their issues together – either through their secret relationship or even just through talking and communicating better. But I also found myself drawn into their realistic characters. I was interested in them, invested practically from the beginning of the story.

The sex is sizzling and not for the shy, but I found it very tastefully written. I’m not completely sold on the plot device of them keeping their relationship secret. While I understand Jacob wanted to avoid local gossip about his ex being revived, I never completely understood why Jane went along with it. I’m not sure how well that part of the plot sat with me. While well written, it seemed a bit strange (and old fashioned) to me. The characters though are where this book really shines. I’m convinced that Jane and Jacob (and Riley) are realistic and well drawn. I was invested in them all right from the start and followed them along this tale, turning the pages well into the night. The author did a brilliant job in my mind bringing these characters to life and infusing them upon the pages.

I think readers who like small town, character driven books where the hero and heroine have their own issues but still overcome them should enjoy this story. There are a number of sex scenes where the bedroom door is left open – and this might change some readers mind. I found the sex emotional, well written and very tasteful, but more delicate readers could well find themselves in over their head in this department. A thoroughly enjoyable story I could hardly put down.

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