Title: Perfectly Charming
Author: Liz Talley
Series: Morning Glory #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Morning Glory native Jess Culpepper is desperate to get out of town after divorcing the only man she’s ever dated. She takes a temporary nursing job in Florida and, thanks to the bequest of her late friend, Lacy, has the funds to rent a condo right on the beach. She’s not prepared to literally trip over her old high school lab partner—and definitely not prepared for how deliciously hot he is now.
Ryan Reyes, once known as “The Brain,” has worked hard to become more than the skinny nerd that jocks bullied and girls politely tolerated. At twenty-six, he has retired from science to run a charter fishing business in Pensacola and spend his leisure time catching up on the debauchery he missed. But when the unattainable girl of his teenage fantasies moves in down the beach, old feelings come flooding back.
Their scorching attraction soon leads them into bed—but what starts as no-strings-attached fun is complicated by a return to Morning Glory and the shadows of their shared past. Can the head cheerleader and the geek redefine themselves and forge ahead to find their happily ever after?
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
This book somehow managed to be both sexy and geeky, not to mention plain cute. On the surface Ryan is a bad boy player, while Jess is a hard-working good girl, but there’s so much more to both of them. Especially when Ryan’s genius status is factored in.
I loved Ryan’s quirks. He’s working so hard to be the relaxed, charming player. The amount of research he put into becoming what he views as the perfect man, is ridiculously cute – and the complete opposite of everything he’s trying to achieve. Not that he fails in becoming a gorgeous stud, but he’s like a swan – all serene on the surface, flailing madly beneath. He’s so complicated and confused and I adored him.
Especially the way he feels about Jess. She’s not even remotely like anything he’s planned for, but he adjusts because she’s Jess. Part of that is because of that crush he had as a kid, but it’s also because of the way she knows and understands him. I loved their relationship in Pensacola.
Jess is not quite as complicated as Ryan, but her hurt and confusion is more obvious. I loved how she changed throughout the book and how being with Ryan helped her get back to the person she used to be – and think about a different kind of future for herself.
Having said that, I wasn’t particularly fond of the way she behaves once they get back to Morning Glory. I know she’s confused and emotional, but poor Ryan. The things he does for her.
Overall, this was a lovely read – sexier than the first, with added geeky cuteness (and even a geeky seduction). I loved how both characters became more comfortably themselves when they were together. They didn’t change so much as learn how to balance everything they could be with everything they wanted. The first book was all about comfort and cosiness, this was about exploration, excitement and acceptance. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the next one.
Perfectly Charming is Out Now.
Visit Liz Talley for more details.