The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…
Have you ever been in the honeymoon phase with someone? You know, that magical part of a new relationship where everything the other person does is genius/hilarious/drop-dead sexy and you can’t seem to get enough of each other?
Usually during this time you go AWOL from reality for a few weeks and mash your squishy against your partners 24/7. But at some point (usually when chafing forces you out of your hormone-induced frenzy) you remember that there are other people in your life, and so you emerge from your lust-filled cocoon and introduce this incredible person to your friends. You ask them afterwards what they thought of him, your face lit from within and your eyes all misty…
“Isn’t (insert name here) amazing? Don’t you just love him?” you ask breathily.
“Uh, yeah…” one of your friends answers with some hesitation.
“What? What’s wrong?” you make the mistake of asking.
Your friend squirms for a minute before responding. “Doesn’t the way he talks over everyone annoy you a little ?”
“Huh? He doesn’t do that,” you argue.
Oh but you’re wrong. You’re so wrong. You might not notice it right away because you’re blinded by lust, but another week, maybe two, and you’ll begin to come down from your sexual high and the blinders will come off. That’s when you’ll realize that your friend was right. And now that she’s pointed it out, its all you’ll be able to focus on.
I’ve read enough romance to be familiar with the use of pet names. They never used to bother me. I used to think they were endearing. You see, like the example above, I was too distracted by the schmexy times to really pay them any attention. But somewhere along the way I read a review in which someone (I can’t remember who or I’d totally name drop you right now) pointed out what an annoying, and totally unrealistic, romance genre trope pet names are. Ever since then, they’ve bothered the crap out of me.
There are pet names and then there are pet names. This book has a pet name. Possible the worst I’ve come across. Are you ready?
Okay, that aside this book had a lot of potential. In the beginning it was funny. I mean, really funny. The main character’s name is Caroline, and her internal monologue is hilarious. She anthropomorphizes her cat, talks about her hoo-hah in the third person, and lost her orgasm to a rabbity one night stand.
The walls in her new apartment are so thin that she can hear her neighbor banging a different woman each night. One likes to be spanked, one meows her way to climax, and another one laughs (and giggles and snorts and guffaws) her way to the same.
What’s even worse is that her headboard shares a wall with her nympho neighbor and he’s so…er…energetic in bed that his “thumping” actually knocks pictures down on her side.
For obvious reasons she nicknames him “Wallbanger” and is both intrigued and disgusted by him. Then one night she can’t tolerate anymore 2 am wake ups and storms over to his door to rage at him, forgetting that she’s wearing a pink nightie. This is where her nickname is earned. It’s also where you see the potential chemistry between the two of them.
So, what’s not to love about this book? It has a great setup, a lot of humor, the promise for a slow buildup of tension, and the potential for hate-sex.
The biggest problem is that it doesn’t deliver.
In the beginning I laughed a lot. I loved the caustic interactions between Caroline, aka Nightie Girl, and Simon, aka Wallbanger. There were some support character issues revolving around the seemingly perfect pairing off of their friends as couples that almost made me quit early on, but I was too excited to see what would happen between the main characters to give up. Especially since right after this pairing there’s an argument, a bitch slap and some hate-kissing between Nightie Girl and Wallbanger.
I think if they’d remained enemies longer it would have been better. I came up with a huge list of things they could do to torture each other (yes I have issues) before they ended up giving in to their baser needs. Giggity. Sadly, this doesn’t happen. Instead, they boringly (some might say maturely) opt to try for a truce.
The truce leads to them becoming friends, and Simon goes from being an indifferent badass to this guy:
“Wow, it’s almost ten! I’ve taken up your entire evening. I hope you didn’t have plans.”
Still, there was enough humor that I pushed myself to continue. Halfway through I was glad I did. The pages stopped reeking of aged Gouda, the dumb ‘coincidences’ ended, and our main characters started to admit their attraction to each other.
Everything fell apart for me three quarters of the way through, when they finally get together. They go to Spain. And rent a beautiful house overlooking the ocean.
I should have known something was wrong when they didn’t immediately christen every room in their secluded rental.
No, instead they want to take things slow. Because neither they, nor the readers, have literary blue balls.
BUT YOU’RE IN AN OCEAN-FRONT VILLA IN SPAIN, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
And take it slow they do. The book turns into total sap for 40 pages, 40 PAGES, before they finally get it on. It’s steamy, until…YES…until…MMMMM…UNTIL IT SUCKER PUNCHES YOU!
There’s this huge buildup and her O is still lost. I was so irritated I skimmed the last 70 pages. They go on an O hunt. It ends with a HEA. It wasn’t enough to redeem itself.
In short, great premise, huge potential, but for me, it didn’t deliver.