Release Date: Jun 2, 2020
Series: Daughters of Country
Heat Level: Warm
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Imprint: Harlequin Desire
Hot Nashville Nights is the latest category romance from Mills & Boone Desire. The story is about Alice and Spencer, two former lovers who now must work together. Alice is a struggling stylist and Spencer is a songwriter who hires her to style him for a magazine lay out.
First, I want to be clear that I love a category romance for their quick and fun stories. I read categories in a different mind set than regular books, because they’re intentionally just a little off the wall. I was ready to enjoy a quick read about two former lovers brought back together for a work project. I liked the idea of former lovers that met on Tinder coming back together after several years. Supposedly they both changed for the better, but I found both rather immature and unlikeable.
For example, Alice received some money from a settlement after her mother’s death for some past royalties on songs her mom’s former lover stole. It turns out this former lover is now Spencer’s mentor and he insists the man, Kirby, is reformed and thinks the world of Alice. Alice complains to Spencer that she could never forgive Kirby, especially because the money barely covered her college tuition and did not set her up for life. Like she was entitled to be set up for life because her dead mother’s songs had been stolen.
Additionally, both Spencer and Alice have been celibate for years and it’s implied neither has slept with anyone since their breakup. Spencer claims that his celibacy was a piece of his recovery from alcoholism and he was dedicated to seeing it through until he could be the right kind of man. Alice claims she wanted to reform her party girl ways and pursue meaningful relationships. Yet, within days of working together they fall into bed with very little qualms about either’s celibacy vows. They agree to a temporary fling since that’s all either can offer, in direct opposition of their vows to stop having meaningless sex.
Throughout the book it was also troublesome how Alice and Spencer speak to each other or narrate in their own heads. At times they are immature and at others they are speaking like adults much older than their mid-twenties. It seemed to me that the author struggled with finding the correct “voice” for either of her main characters and never truly struck a believable chord for how people of this age think and act.
At points it felt as if the author was condemning the two former lovers for their past Tinder relationship which I thought was unreasonable. Most people in their twenties have used Tinder and do not see it as a shameful way to meet people. It felt like a personal belief from the author was being inserted instead of a genuine feeling from either character. If you’re the type of person that likes to watch over the top movies like Birdemic: Shock and Terror and The Room, then you may enjoy this book. Like James Nguyen and Tommy Wiseau this author seems to be writing in a verbose and earnest style that is not befitting of the typical fun and easy category romance style.
I have to admit that I was laughing at the pure lunacy of this book by about 12% in when Spencer told Alice he had a dog rescue because he was a stray because he was an orphan, and that rescuing dogs made him feel like he makes a difference in the world. Not that I don’t appreciate a dog rescue, but oh my, the way this passage is presented was like it was the deepest thought any hero had ever had. That type of writing is why this gets a 2 for me, marked up only because I got some genuine giggles out of the lunacy of it all.