by Julie Garwood
August 7, 2012
When I was in college, my RA kept a stash of romance novels underneath her bed. It was awesome because she had an open door policy and I lived with her so...free romance novels whenever I wanted! Her books generally featured a strong-willed woman (who maybe has sisters that get their own books...awesome!) who ended up with a man equally strong-willed and awesome in bed. When I moved to New York, I ended up with a roommate who loved romance novels even more than my college roommate. Hannah's books tend to be series featuring firefighters, police officers, NASCAR drivers, even a boutique sex hotel in Manhattan (my favorites!). After reading Julie Garwood's Sweet Talk, I gave Hannah my copy to read ASAP.
In Sweet Talk, IRS agent/attorney Olivia Mackenzie is investigating her father's business on the down low because she thinks that he is running a Ponzi scheme. When Olivia meets with a man she thinks will help her find evidence against her father, he attempts to kill her, leading FBI agent Grayson Kincaid (with a name like that, you know he is going to be good in bed) to save her. They both feel the attraction immediately, and he helps her in her investigation, leading to an emotionally-charged (and sexy) conclusion.
I think the storylines in romance novels are generally overlooked, and that is why they can have a bad reputation as a legitimate genre. While not reinventing the genre, Garwood wrote an engaging plot, complete with corruption (timely!) and murder (always exciting to read about). Her Olivia and Grayson are fully developed and mirror each other in a way that is important for romance novels as you can really see them staying together.
There are two major sex scenes, which is appropriate for a novel of this size (about 350 pages in my advance copy) that also has a pretty involved plot. The initial scene is written extremely well, with no pulsating member in sight. The title of the novel comes out of this scene: Grayson says “Wow” after they have both orgasmed, and Olivia asks if that is his versions of sweet talk. He asks if she needs sweet talk and she says “No, 'Wow' pretty much said it all.” That is a good summary of their relationship.
The only point in Sweet Talk that didn't ring true is in the second sex scene. Olivia is determined to tease Grayson, to “make him beg,” but can't. She thinks “when it came to sex, how could she have thought she was superior.” It was so out of character for Olivia to say something along those lines that I was thrown out of the story. They are equals everywhere else in this book, does he really have to best her sexually? That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Talk and have already put a few of Julie Garwood's books on my Amazon list.