Betrayal has left Rae Murphy cold to the idea of romance, but when her ex, Donovan MacLeod, turns out to be best man at her best friend’s wedding, she feels old sparks reigniting – if he can manage to earn a second chance. E.F. Dodd’s EARNING IT does the primary job of a romance novel – wish-fulfillment and hot erotic passion – quite successfully. The fact that readers are thrown into Rae and Van’s story after their relationship was established and then shattered means that no time need be wasted on initial attraction or building up a connection. The raw heat of their emotional and physical connection is there from the moment he appears on the page to the end of the book, and the question is not whether they will fall in love, but how soon before they give in to the emotions which are obviously consuming them. It doesn’t hurt that they essentially start off enveloped in the pink romantic haze surrounding the newlywed couple, Kez and Jackson, whose wedding and (group) honeymoon are the site of most of the book. The unfurling of the story of their former romance, and the deception that broke it, is done naturally and without too much backstory to slow down the book’s pace. And their separation has real, serious causes that require both of them (but especially Van) to take a second look at what matters most to them – it’s not, despite appearances, the usual romance-novel trope of a misunderstanding that could be solved in ten minutes if only the couple talked to each other.
The romantic tropical setting in which the story takes place is a delightful wish-fulfillment getaway – maybe the average reader can’t be at a tropical resort sipping cocktails with naughty names in the company of a gorgeous man desperate to do anything he can to regain their favor, but at least it’s fun to imagine. The backup characters are reasonably likeable and fulfill their functions in the story without being reduced to two-dimensional caricatures, and their own romances help heighten the emotions of the central couple. The book is spiced with enough humor, wit, and lively conversation to keep its erotic energy high without becoming dull or overdone, the men’s talent show being a particular delight. It is a book quite full of naughty and delicious pleasures, and not just the erotic – it is frankly rather astounding that none of the characters are at any point hospitalized with alcohol poisoning, but then again, no one really expects that much realism in a romance novel. For readers who could really use a tropical vacation right about now – and who couldn’t? – EARNING IT can provide, at least, an enjoyable fantasy.
E.F. Dodd’s’s EARNING IT is as hot and steamy as the Caribbean Island on which most of it takes place, with a hefty dose of fantasy wish-fulfillment lightened by a bright, mischievous sense of humor.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader
Reprinted from https://indiereader.com/book_review/earning-it/#review