Dr. Bastian Talbot and self-proclaimed sex goddess Charlie Pierce heat up the air waves with their flirty banter as radio hosts Dr. Hot and the Honeypot. Off the air, they’re best friends…but Bastian wants to be so much more. He wants Charlie—in bed, and forever.
Problem is, Charlie doesn’t do commitment. Sure, she’s had X-rated fantasies of Bastian, but he was always just a friend—until he impulsively proposes and unleashes the lust they’ve been denying for years. Charlie’s willing to explore where their wild chemistry leads, but she won’t marry him. And he won’t have sex with her until she accepts his proposal, despite her seductive schemes.
What are Dr. Hot and the Honeypot to do? Ask their listeners for advice on how to tame a sex kitten and turn a perfect gentleman into a shameless lover. The Race to Wed or Bed is on…who will turn up on top?
Title: TURN IT UP
Author: Inez Kelley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2011, August 1
Source: Received an e-ARC from author for review
“Did you just have an orgasm?”
– Bastian’s self-control at the campsite in the beginning of the book > takes an iron will to resist Charlie on a (sexual) mission
– Bastian’s (first) talk with Charlie’s mom > I loved this scene as it brought me even more insight in Charlie
– the tape measuring scene > LOL funny
– Bastian’s surprise for Charlie’s birthday > awwww, I melted…
Charlie Pierce/Honeypot is a radio host who paid her way through college as an exotic dancer. Charlie is flirty, vivacious, hard-headed and straightforward.
Charlie was a character I was on the fence about at first. I loved her vivaciousness and zest for life and her straightforward attitude, but also had a bit of trouble with her dismissal of Bastian’s feelings for he, chucking them to the lust pile in a drama-queen type way. Luckily this only lasted for about one page because underneath the sexual bravado was a vulnerable woman, afraid to love and let herself be loved.
While in most of the romances I read I relate to, or click with, the hero the most, I must say that in TURN IT UP it was Charlie who I connected with the best and she was the one who made a lasting impression on me with her back-story and character development. I may be adding another awesome lady to my favorite heroines-list.
(Se)Bastian Talbot/Dr Hot is an ER doctor. He’s quiet, introvert, protective, and iron-willed. His self-control was commendable and yet he was a hero that I didn’t connect as much with as I did with the heroine in this book. Throughout the book he remained a character that was hard for me to get a grip on and he didn’t truly come to life for me until a certain scene with his brother and towards the end of the book.
Charlie and Bastian are co-hosts of a sex-oriented radio talkshow and the best of friends, though Bastian’s feelings for Charlie go beyond mere friendship and into love territory. And they’re both on the opposite ends of the sex scope. Charlie is into temporary, sexual flings while Bastian wants forever and relationship sex instead of casual one-nightstand sex. I loved reading how Charlie’s plan to treat Bastian as a one-night stand, after he declares his love and wants more, backfires slowly but surely.
I love the friends-to-lovers trope and with TURN IT UP Inez Kelley gave me another book to add to my favorites in this trope pile! The flirty innuendos between the radio host personas Dr Hot and Honey and the easy comfortable camaraderie and treasured friendship between Bastian and Charlie were things that really hit the mark with me. And when the two rolled into one, the boundaries getting less distinct, it came together perfectly.
The banter in the radio show was awesome. I really enjoyed these scenes and it felt like really listening to a radio-show. I also loved how Bastian threw the gauntlet during the show, asking listeners to help convince Charlie to marry him and Charlie responding by asking them to help her get in his pants. There was a part about 1/3 to 1/2 in that fizzled out a little and to me it seemed like the pace slowed and nothing happened to move the story forward, however, it picked up with a vengeance short after that.
The secondary cast was diverse and colorful. They gave the story and the main characters that additional oomph that I like so much in Inez Kelley’s work. One of the secondary characters that definitely caught my attention and held it was Caz, Bastian’s brother. I have a suspicion we haven’t seen the last of Caz and though some might not find him hero material I’m convinced many of us will disagree with that and I’ll await his story with quite some anticipation. After reading more about Caz all I can say is I WANT his book! (Note from reviewer: Meanwhile I have heard from the author that Caz will not have his own full-length book (*crying my eyes out*) but there will be a free short story on Inez Kelley’s website on release day that is Caz’s story).
What I love in Inez Kelley’s writing and especially in TURN IT UP is the dry witty humor, with just enough intensity to keep the fluff away. Sexual heat and urgency make the sexy scenes jump off the pages, the urgency almost made feel like despair and definitely emotional and giving this book emotional depth that shone through the fun, humorous tone of it. The opening line set the tone and reeled me right into the awesomeness that is Inez Kelley’s writing. It put a grin on my face that remained there throughout the entire book.
Inez Kelley’s SWEET AS SIN was a tough act to follow and though TURN IT UP doesn’t have that dark intensity it was another contemporary I enjoyed and it deserves its own praise without comparisons. And since it made me chuckle, sigh, laugh out loud and cry I’d say TURN IT UP is another notch on the my winners-list of Inez Kelley contemporaries.
What should have been illegal was the way her faded cutoffs hugged her ass. She looked like Betty Boop in mutilated Levis. There was no way a whisper of air could fit between her skin and the denim, but his fingers would love to try. He fisted them tight to maintain control. Down, boy.
Some women turned heads. Charlie Pierce turned entire bodies. More than one man had done a complete one-eighty as she walked down the street. She was a siren and a vixen without apology. Her sapphire eyes stared straight at a man, daring him: if you want to look, then look your fill.
No one knew him better and he couldn’t imagine his life without her. He loved her to distraction.
He wanted her with an obsession.
He treasured her like Fort Knox.
He was in hard-on hell.
She was his best friend, his platonic, nonsexual, do-or-die-for buddy.
The rampant longing in his voice shocked him. Lust-crazed was a sensation he associated with adolescents, not himself. He’d needed before, hungered, thought he’d explode, but never had he experienced this complete red haze of physical want. He ached for her. Good God, he ached. The dull pain would not dissipate. Crossing to the cooler, he fished out a frosty bottle.
Droplets splashed his stomach. The water seared his heated skin. In a frenzied flash, he held the icy glass to his gaping fly. Pain lurched through his groin and he gasped. It helped. Some.
“You’re going to get frostbite and I have plans for that body part.”
“A thing of beauty, huh? Mighty poetic tonight, aren’t you?”
“I’m with you, Honey. That’s enough to inspire poetry in the hardest of hearts. Besides, it’s true. An aroused woman is a beautiful thing.”
“Now, see, I’m not too sure about that. Orgasms cause some seriously painful-looking faces.”
His deep laugh filled the radio room. “That may be, but it’s just the intensity of release. Like jumping off a cliff. You’re not going to be smiling when you hit the ground but the flight down is fantastic.”
“Hit the ground? Dang, Doc, what kind of women are you hanging out with if you equate an orgasm with pulling a Wile E. Coyote off a cliff?”
(Honey/Charlie) “(…) Just remember, you catch more flies with honey, and I’m after one fly in particular.”
Forever wasn’t in her vocabulary when it came to men. Sex was sex and love was fleeting. Bastian was constant.
How could she survive being even closer to him and then letting him go when forever faded?
“I’m not twenty-four anymore. The rose-colored glasses have been off a long time. Can I promise Charlie forever? Not really, no one can. All I can promise is that I don’t want to face any type of forever without her. I’ll die trying to make her happy. That’s the best I can do, but I’ll do it the best I can.”
Twirling to the counter, she clutched the drawstring bag and Bastian’s gasp shivered up her spine.
“Where’s the rest of your dress?”
From her hairline to the top swell of her behind, the air kissed her skin, bared for his eyes. The front may have purred subdued sensuality, but the back screamed reckless temptation. The look she sent him was pure tease.
Forever wasn’t a place. It was who you were with. Who loved you. Eddy might not have been June Cleaver but she’d been there, always, a touchstone no matter where they lived. Now it was Bastian. He was her foundation, her support, her security, her future.
It wasn’t a house.
Bastian was her forever place. The future was whatever they made it, together.