(Dear Readers, Miss Bates continues to toil at the day-job above and beyond the call of duty. But when Friday night rolled around, she needed to put the feet up, brew the green tea, add the honey, and read the romance. It was a good one and there was late-night-in-bed reading. And this is why today, she offers her 300th review, compact as heroine Sierra West in Maisey Yates’s One Night Charmer.)
A Maisey Yates review is apropos for Miss Bates’s 300th. Yates is one of her favourite contemporary romance authors, balancing a visceral contemporary voice with traditional-values rom-HEA (marriage and babies). Her characters fall in love, work things out, and commit, but also go on a journey that transcends their weighed-down-with-negativity past. This is no less true for One Night Charmer than all the fabulous Copper Ridge novels and novellas. Moreover, One Night Charmer‘s elements are missbatesian rom-nip: an older, surly hero, wounded and jaded, a “bouncy”, smart ingenue heroine, drunken sex, the wages of sin, marriage-of-convenience, and a baby-filled epilogue.
When One Night Charmer opens, Sierra West’s life has been shaken by family revelations. She discovered an illegitimate half-brother in Jack Monaghan (Bad News Cowboy‘s hero). At 25, Sierra abandons her rich-girl-world’s comforts and privileges. She won’t tolerate her father’s hypocrisy and, in turn, can no longer accept his financial support. (Nathan West is a tarnished model Copper Ridge citizen and businessman with a sordid secret life and discarded son.) Sierra is broke without her father’s support. She begs Ace Thompson, the local watering-hole owner, for a waitressing job. Ace has only contempt for Sierra. She echoes the spoiled rich-girl antics of his ex-wife, the woman who took his innocence, stomped on his heart, and stole his daughter. But Ace and Sierra’s banter, as all good banter should, holds an under-current of powerful desire. No matter how they needle and insult each other, one night of wine-and-spirit-tasting and Yates writes the sexiest bar sex in romland.
Miss B. loved every second in Sierra and Ace’s company, just as she loved Take Me, Cowboy, and her fave Copper Ridge novel, Brokedown Cowboy. Ace is growly, even cruel at times, but his backstory of divorce, heartbreak, family estrangement, and shame redeem him. He’s capable of tenderness and care. Sierra is lovable. She struggles to do the right thing, whether about her family or when she discovers the results of drunken debauchery. There are plenty of reasons why Ace and Sierra shouldn’t work, but Yates convinces otherwise.
As a final note, Yates has a tongue-in-cheek, most entertaining talent for allusion. In the drunken-bar scene, she alludes to Sierra as a damsel on the tracks (à la Perils of Pauline), while Ace pursues her, ahem, pleasure. Yates, dammit, manages to immerse Miss B. in the text and cleverly draw her out of it with nods to rom’s predecessors and/or tropes. Miss Bates is a sucker for both. Miss B. lies waiting for Yates to write a “bad” Copper Ridge novel, so she can write a snarky review. But it just isn’t happening, despite One Night Charmer’s status as Yates’s ninth Copper Ridge rom-narrative. With Miss Austen, Miss Bates finds in One Night Charmer “a mind lively and at ease,” Emma.
Maisey Yates’s One Night Charmer is published by Harlequin Books. It was released on April 19th and is available at your preferred vendors. Miss Bates received an e-ARC from Harlequin, via Netgalley.