During the summer after Adam Clayton had just finished college and Mallory Altman had just finished high school, they met and became instant friends, which led to a torrid love affair. But as the summer drew to a close, Adam got scared of the feelings, Mallory was arousing in him and suggested that they were too young to make a commitment and that they should cool things off. Mallory was hurt but never let on, so they remained good friends for the next five years before losing touch. During that time, Adam had second thoughts, but every time he considered trying to reignite the spark, the timing always seemed to be off.
Now, as Adam is filling in at his friend's photography business, who should walk through the door but his old flame, Mallory. She's there for a boudoir photo session in an attempt to revive her stagnating love life, but Adam can't resist snapping the pictures even if they are for another man. As they interact during the session and throughout the coming week, they discover that their attraction still burns brightly, so when Mallory catches her boyfriend cheating, she runs to Adam's eagerly waiting arms. A citywide blackout turns their romantic evening into a passionate night filled with the best sex either of them has ever had. But when the light of day arrives, reality intrudes, leaving them uncertain of what the future holds. With Mallory on the rebound and Adam leaving for a three-month dream trip to Europe the next day, is their timing off yet again or will they finally find a way to make it work this time?
Jacquie D'Alessandro is a favorite author who hasn't failed me yet, but up until now, I'd only read her historical romances. Why Not Tonight? is my first foray into her contemporaries, and I'm happy to say that I was equally entranced by this story as I have been with all of Ms. D'Alessandro's other books I've read to date. It's a classic reunion romance, a story of "the one that got away." Mallory and Adam met the summer after he'd just completed college and was preparing to start a new high-powered job on Wall Street, and she'd just completed high school and was getting ready to go off to college. They were instantly attracted to one another in body, mind, and spirit, and spent several torrid weeks together engaging in a steamy love affair, during which they fell in love. But as the summer wound to a close, Adam got scared by the intensity of his feelings, and believing they were too young to get so serious, he suggested that they cool things off and see other people but remain friends. Mallory was broken-hearted, but managed to move on with her life, and they did stay friends for several years, until losing touch five years earlier. Now they chance to reconnect when Mallory comes into a photography studio, which is temporarily being manned by Adam whose friend owns the business, looking to have boudoir photos done. Even though he's not really a photographer, Adam obliges and the two of them find that the chemistry between them is still there after all these years. They end up spending an incredibly steamy night together during a black-out, but with Adam planning to leave for a dream trip to Europe the next day, they may once again find that their timing is off.
After a recent health scare brought on by the stress of his job, Adam sold his seat on the New York stock exchange and is looking to make a major change in his life, but he doesn't know yet what he wants to do. Before settling down to figure that out, he's decided to finally take the ultimate bachelor trip to Europe that he's been dreaming about for years. About a week before he's scheduled to leave, his best friend's wife goes into labor, so he takes over at his friend's photography studio. Since he's not really a photographer, he's only supposed to be doing things like paperwork and booking appointments, until Mallory, his ex-lover and a woman he hasn't seen in years, walks into the studio for a boudoir photo session, and he can't resist giving her the personal treatment. Adam had been absolutely crazy about Mallory during their youthful fling, but didn't feel they were old enough to settle down and make commitments. It's a decision he's regretted, but over the next few years, until they lost touch, each of them always seemed to be dating someone else. Now seeing Mallory again sends his libido into overdrive, but she's there to do these photos for her current boyfriend, leaving him believing that their timing is still bad. However, when Mallory comes to him about a week later, seeking consolation after discovering her boyfriend's infidelity, Adam is more than happy to oblige, but even after a weekend of insanely great sex, he isn't sure if he's ready to give up that trip. Except for his youthful aversion to commitment, which was kind of understandable, Adam is a truly dreamy hero. He really knows how to romance a lady and he's a creative and skillful lover who can make a girl forget her own name.
Mallory's father walked out on her mother before she was even born, so she grew up with a single mom, who, as a professional cellist, had to move around a lot. Mallory hated their transient lifestyle, and so all she's ever really wanted is security, stability, and a real home of her own. As a successful real estate agent who's recently bought her first home, she thinks she's finally found that. She even has a boyfriend who seems to be everything she wants on paper, although he's pretty boring in the bedroom, which is why she's decided to do the boudoir photos to spice up their love life. When she chances to meet Adam again at the photography studio, he sends her pulse racing. Being near him in nothing but her lingerie, is a heady experience, but she's determined to make things work with her current boyfriend until she finds him in bed with someone else. That's when she realizes that she never truly loved him and that he wasn't really what she'd needed at all. Still, with her feminine confidence a bit shaken, she seeks out Adam, thinking that they could at least have another brief fling before he jets off to Europe. Their night together turns out to be everything she's been craving and more, and although she wishes they could finally be a real couple, she isn't sure if she can stand in the way of something he's been looking forward to for so long. Mallory was a relatable heroine who had the right guy on the hook the first time around, but rather selflessly let go when he needed some space. I like that she was emotionally strong enough to remain friends with him for a good while and that she wasn't a woman given to being clingy. She also fearlessly matches Adam's passion beat for beat.
The first few chapters of Why Not Tonight? begin one week before the black-out, but the bulk of the story takes place over the following weekend when Adam and Mallory reconnect in a spectacular way. This part of the book is filled with chapter after chapter of the kind of delicious and creative steamy encounters I would expect from a Blaze novel. Oftentimes a story that takes place over such a short period of time and that is primarily about the sex might not work for me, but I very much enjoyed this one. I think this is primarily owing to the fact that Adam and Mallory had never forgotten one another and neither of them had ever felt the intensity of emotions for anyone else that they felt with each other. The author did an excellent job of conveying these emotions and making me believe that they were falling in love all over again, or perhaps, that their love had never died in the first place. Also, while the sex is incredible, Ms. D'Alessandro shows them connecting in other ways as well that express the deeper friendship aspect of their relationship. The only reason I knocked off a half-star is because the opening chapters were a bit slow-paced as the author establishes their backstory, leaving my mind wandering a little. But otherwise, I loved everything about the story and it left me looking forward to trying more of Ms. D'Alessandro's contemporaries in the future.
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