Taste of Lacey by Linden Hughes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book surprised me. After a slow start, “Taste of Lacey” unfolded into a smartly written and realistic dramatic romance. I’d recently read some very cliched books which were driving me toward giving up on the IR sub-genre altogether, but “Taste of Lacey” has somewhat renewed my faith.
First off — I’ve never been much of a romance reader until recently. I always thought heaving bosoms, throbbing members, and ripped bodices were laughable. If I had known stories were written like this — about real people in real situations — then I would have been reading a long, long time ago.
“Taste of Lacey” almost turned me off, though. The book starts with Lacey rightfully being proud of herself after a successful event run by her company, but then she’s making arrangements with her lifelong neighbor for a stress-relieving tryst. Now, I understand that Ryder McKay is her brother’s best friend and therefore would answer the call to support Lacey’s big day. I also understand that they’d have no problems being in close quarters because they’ve grown up together. I even understand that they both may have succumbed to the energy of the moment. What turned me off was that insta-heat “fit like a train to a track” stuff. Perhaps what bothered me most was how coarse the language got when Rye and Lacey got close. Not just in dialogue, but in the narration.
I feel it set a false precedence.
Sure, this book has tons of fire between Rye and Lacey, but this isn’t an endless smut-fest. There’s a real story here (and a lot of smut).
I had read on some discussion boards about what IR readers don’t like. One of them was the constant reference to the differing races/cultures. The story’s subtext is built upon that — how very different Lacey and Rye are on the outside but so alike on the inside. I was worried that it would be redundant to read about how fascinated Ryder was with Lacey’s skin, but it was kind of cute.
The standout in this book is Ryder. His interaction with his family and others is engaging and very real. His thoughts about Lacey are authentic. Sure, he is ruled by his gender, but he is well aware that his addiction to Lacey goes beyond physical. I kept waiting for some confession that he’d been intrigued by her since they were kids. That being with her was a wish fulfilled. I even expected Lacey’s father to say something like that–reveal some childhood declaration Ryder had made and forgotten about that was finally coming true. But those cute but cliched moments never came. However, I would have liked to actually hear from Lacey’s father and not a third or fourth person relaying the message.
There were times where I thought Lacey was being a bit ridiculous with her wildly vacillating emotions, but this was the first time in forever that she truly felt something for someone, and she doesn’t have the first clue on how to manage these feelings in her highly controlled life. There’s a scene where she rips her dress to shreds that left me scratching my head.
I appreciate that the author didn’t gloss over their races. I’m glad Lacey was aware that not everyone was accepting of their relationship simply because of their skin colors, even though she tried to use that as an excuse to not pursue her feelings. I also liked that the opposition was coming from her mother and brother and not bigoted strangers.
The dialogue was sparse early on — they were in the bed during most of the first third of the book… I would have liked for more diverse interaction, but they both are creatures of habit, so Ryder and Lacey quickly fell into a routine.
With the introduction of the supporting cast, it still took a while for interactions to feel real. Lacey’s cousin and business partner are terrific, but it wasn’t until nearly the end of the book where I felt Lacey’s dialogue loosened up with Monica and felt like real best friends who happened to be related. I’d like to think that Lacey was just that uptight over Ryder that she doesn’t relax in any aspect of her life until she and Ryder declare themselves official…but it doesn’t read that way.
The rest of the players leave a lasting impression, unfortunately, I never really cared all that much for Lacey. I would have given the book another star if Lacey had more growth.
I would love for some of the subplots introduced in this book to be expanded upon but not resolved, particularly Monica and Lisa. I bet Lisa’s got her own secret lover.
“Taste of Lacey” is a solid read. It’s enjoyable from nearly start to finish. I had a tough time getting into it, but after chapter 1, things flowed smoothly for an engaging read.
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