Review: Bare Essentials: Naughty But Nice\Naturally Naughty

There were two connecting stories in this book and I had very different views of each so I'm reviewing them individually.

Naughty But Nice
by Jill Shalvis

Lingerie model Cassie Tremaine Montgomery intends to have her revenge on the citizens of her hometown—starting with seducing the sheriff, Sean "Tag" Taggart. Tag, however, isn't cooperating. He's more than willing to set the sheets on fire with her, but he's asking for more than just sizzling sex…. He knows Cassie's not as tough as she pretends. And he knows she cares about him—even if she won't admit it. So he'll just turn up the heat until she concedes there's more between them than this red-hot passion. 

Cassie grew up in a town called Pleasantville that wasn't very pleasant. Her mother was not one to shy away from men, to say the least, and her family was known as "that trashy Tremaine family."  Needless to say Cassie didn't really trust any of the men in town because she had no idea who had slept with her mother and who hadn't.

On prom night ten years earlier her date, who she wanted to get away from, got pulled over by the Sheriff and was made to walk home.  Cassie was happy that it was Sheriff Taggart because she trusted him - that is until he started suggesting that Cassie pay him back for his kindness with sex. Ew. She got home safely but was a bit traumatized by the event.  She crawled up into her tree house and wrote out a revenge list for when she was older.

Ten years later and Cassie is back in town as her mother has given her a bunch of properties that she inherited from some of the men she was "friends" with over the years.  Cassie thinks she's gonna close things up and sell until she gets there and finds that not everyone knows who she was from years past and that she kind of likes it in Pleasantville.   She decides to open a women's store, Bare Essentials, (lingerie and sex toys, among other things) along with her cousin Kate. Kate already has a Bare Essentials in Chicago that is a total hit.  Cassie doesn't plan on the new Sheriff Taggart, who is the originals son.  He's hot and he really likes Cassie - even though it doesn't show at first.  Tag is looking for long term but Cassie has self-esteem issues as she doesn't believe that any man could like her for more than her body.

This is probably the first Shalvis story that I didn't absolutely love.  I think I had issues with Cassie as I couldn't quite believe that after all those years she truly didn't believe herself a good person inside.  

Tag was a great guy but even he was playing the sex card with Cassie and it just didn't feel right to me - even though it was a big part of the story.  

Cassie, imho, was all over the place with her emotions, jumping from one to the other very quickly.  She really didn't know what she wanted and I believe she held out too long with Tag and his love for her.  

So while this was a good story I did have some issues with it.  I liked the addition of Kate in the story as it led us nicely into the next one but I didn't love this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Naturally Naughty
by Leslie Kelly

Kate Jones, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, is home. And she's got an agenda. To get revenge on the man who humiliated her mother, Kate's going to seduce that man's son—the town's golden boy, John Winfield Jr.—and then leave him drooling in a puddle of lust. However, when she finds herself seduced by a sexy stranger named Jack, little does she guess that the tables have just been turned…

Kate was always a quiet, studious girl who was thought of as kind.  When her prom date dumps her for another girl Kate ends up walking home alone.  When she's almost at her house she sees her mother, who is a maid at Mayor Winfield's house, get out of the car with a man and kiss him.  It's none other than Mayor Winfield!  Kate is crushed that her mother would kiss a married man or that Mayor Winfield seemed to be taking advantage of her mother!  She climbs up to her backyard tree house (and yes, her cousin Cassie is already there) and along with Cassie makes a revenge on Pleasantville list.  

Ten years later Kate is a successful business woman and has even been featured in Chicago's Business Journal.  She's there to get some things from her old house as her mother has moved to Florida and plans to sell the place.  While in Pleasantville she sees a man across the street.  They catch each others eye and can't look away.  He crosses the street and ends up kissing her right there - without even knowing her name.  Later that day they end up in the local (deserted) theater and have sex.  Jack is the man and he's completely smitten with Kate - without even knowing her name.  Jack knows she's from Chicago as he is and tells her he'll call when he returns.  

Jack gets back home - to the Winfield house - and finds out that the rumors about his now deceased father and  Kate's mom are completely true.  He feels guilty that his father treated Edie the way he did and feels that he needs to right the wrong.  He doesn't feel he can see Kate while he's on the mission - so he never calls.

Months later they're both back in Pleasantville and when Kate finds out that Jack is actually a Winfield she's done with him.  She's already pissed off that he never called but unfortunately she can't seem to stay away from him - and Jack despite his guilt, can't seem to stay away from Kate.

They eventually give in and start a relationship but Kate is still mired in her "I'm not good enough" for long term thinking and it may just ruin everything.

I liked this story so much more than the first!  I really liked both Kate and Jack so very much.  Kate was a strong business woman who still had a few issues to get through personally but was still open to love.  Jack, in my opinion, should have done away with his guilt much sooner than he did but I'm glad he finally realized he didn't need to feel guilty. 

I was a little bothered by the fact that everyone got a happy ending in this story - even the mean people - as it was made to look that they'd turned nice and frankly I strongly doubted that.  Besides that fact I really liked the book and was so happy I continued reading from the first story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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