A Perfect 10
Berkley Heat
ISBN-13:  978-0-425-25316-8
October 2012
Erotic Contemporary Romance

Bluebonnet, Texas – Present Day

Beth Ann Williamson has lived in Bluebonnet all her life, and since her father is Mayor and it's a small town, pretty much everyone knows her.  Especially that she stayed with her ex-fiancé Allan for nine years.  She finally broke up with Allan over nine months ago, but nobody believes her.  Well, they have good reason to be skeptical since she broke up and went back to him time after time after time.  The main problem was Allan always had trouble keeping a certain member of his body under control.  While she had to sneak off to go to beauty school, Allan wasn't upset she was away from home; he used the time to bring his women home to their bed.  Allan is sure all it will take is sweet talking, sad looks, and maybe something with the name Coach or Tiffany or Louboutin to tempt her back.  Now, all Beth Ann wants is a man she can trust.  But Beth Ann is doing just fine with her new beauty shop, except all her money is tied up with her shop and she had to move in with her parents.  Beth Ann's mother comes up to her at a silent auction and says Beth Ann must go find her seventeen year-old sister Lucy who has gone with her boyfriend, Lord Colossus, (what could that mean?) to a QuestMasters campout.  Beth Ann agrees to go to keep the peace, but when she gets back she's definitely spending the next couple days sleeping on the air mattress in the back of her shop to get away from home.  But when Beth Ann gets to the campgrounds the rain has created a mud bog, there are no lights, and no one will admit to knowing her sister Lucy.  Pretty soon everyone's gone, all except for Colt Waggoner.

Colt Waggoner is one of “those” Waggoners, with the junky trailer and the messy yard on the edge of town. As soon as he graduated from high school he joined the Marines and stayed there until a bullet in the knee ended his career.  It took a couple years off the grid in Alaska (no electricity or water, out in the wilderness) until he got his head back on straight.  He joined his two friends, Dane and Grant, giving wilderness training to people, and he also volunteers with the Fire Department.  On the night Beth Ann is out in the rain looking for her sister, Colt is there helping everyone evacuate before the river overflows.  When he finds out Beth Ann is still looking for her sister, he stays to rescue her, but her snippy attitude rubs him the wrong way.  He waits around another hour while she struggles in the rain and mud and finally admits she can't find her sister.  Colt decides telling her they are stranded—and must spend the night, maybe even the weekend in a tree house to escape the elements—is justified given her attitude.  But to Colt's surprise, Beth Ann's attitude isn't spoiled and whiny, but that of a beautiful, fascinating and delightful woman.  Colt's sure she will never give him half a chance, despite his major hots for her.

When Colt and Beth Ann start a relationship, the sexual attraction between them is fiery and spicy.  But Allan is still chasing Beth Ann, and when another beauty shop opens down the street, trouble is about to start.  Beth Ann is reluctant to admit to others she is dating one of “those” Waggoners, and Colt is still keeping the secret that they weren't really stranded that night in the rain and mud.  What will happen if Beth Ann finds out he lied; will he lose the trust she has in him that is so important?  That could mean the death of the passion between them and would desperately hurt Beth Ann, something Colt never wants to happen.

I have never read any of Jessica Clare's previous books, but I really enjoyed her writing.  Each character tells the story in his or her own voice, and she presents them with all of their foibles.  Beth Ann had her heart broken repeatedly by Allan, and even the sex wasn't that exciting…when they had it.  Colt is an interesting mix of gentleman and hermit; he lives by a code of ethics, but sometimes needs time alone to deal with what life has thrown his way.  When Beth Ann and Colt meet, the disinterest she had in sex is immediately turned around, and just looking at Colt starts to get her imagination running wild.  Colt is very aware of how he treats Beth Ann and tries to give her all the care and hot sex that she deserves.  From the first page the writing grabs your interest and reels you into Colt and Beth Ann's story.

Secondary characters add interest to the story, and are great background.  The whole town of Bluebonnet seems to be pushing Beth Ann back into Allan's arms, and Allan, while whining to come back to her, still does not inspire her trust.  In fact, his underhanded dealings almost bankrupt Beth Ann.  Colt's friends and partners in their business are Dane and Grant.  And toward the end of the story, Colt's father puts in an appearance and gives Colt information that upsets his world.

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF AN ALPHA MALE is my first Perfect 10 in forever, and what made it so special to me are the appealing characters and the attraction between Beth Ann and Colt.  There is hot sex, but it's the passion between them that generates the heat.  There was no putting this story down, and I advise you to limit your time reading it before you end up staying up too late at night like I did. A Perfect 10 is only given sparingly, but this richly deserves one with its attention-grabbing story.  For a unique and fun-filled reading experience, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF AN ALPHA MALE will not let you down.

CeCe Johns