Sign up for recreational adult programs now!Over the last year or so, I have started working my way through the books by Jill Shalvis, but this is the first time that I have read one of her category novels. I wasn't sure how the shorter format would work for her, but this was again a fun read for me.
Class: How to Drive Him Crazy
Instructional program for women unexpectedly facing the totally dishy guy from their past. Everyone Welcome!
NHL coach Mark Diego’s plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend–and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy…
When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don’t just burn angry–they burn very, very, hot! But that’ll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he’s planning on playing very dirty too…
Rainey Saunders is a coordinator at a community centre in the midst of a community that started out poor and then was further devastated by wild fires with many of the families losing everything they own including their homes. She does the best she can but she is always underfunded and there are never enough parent volunteers to help run the programs.
Enter hot shot ice hockey coach and home town hero Mark Diego. As a result of a fracas involving some of his team he finds himself back in his home town supervising two young hotshots who need to spend some time volunteering in the community or face losing their spots in the team. His brother is Rainey's boss, and the community centre seems like as good a place as any to do their time!
What neither Rainey or Mark is counting on is that the heat that has existed between them for years is still burning fiercely, but there is some baggage, particularly on Rainey's behalf. As a young girl she had tried, spectacularly unsuccessfully as it turns out, to seduce Mark, and she hasn't forgotten. Neither has he, but not for the reasons that Rainey thinks. Of course, the fact that Mark will be going back to his high flying life style at the end of the project also hasn't escaped Rainey's notice, and she knows that she needs to protect herself from falling for him all over again.
All the elements that make a trademark Shalvis read are present. There is the zinging dialogue, good chemistry and strong community focus that seems to be present in so many of the Shalvis novels I have read. Even within this shorter format, the author manages to build up a story that doesn't just focus on the two romantic leads. The needs of the community, and of other individuals within the community were explored, especially in relation to the family situation of one of the young girls that Mark ends up coaching for baseball. Seeing trademark Shalvis elements can not necessarily be a good thing especially seeing as I have read quite a few of her books in the last few months, and Mark does fit the standard Shalvis stereotype although he is perhaps not quite as emotionally broken as others of her heroes that I can think of.
I would quite happily have read another 100 pages of Mark and Rainey's story but it still sat comfortably within this shorter format quite comfortably.
As an aside, it always amuses me to see how many romance novel heroines are quite short and end up with these huge guys. I am not suggesting that short girls shouldn't get the tall guy, just that I quite often find myself wondering how it all fits together mechanically...if you know what I mean ... especially when the characters end up in cramped spaces in intimate positions and they still fit together perfectly!