In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.
Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché?
USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton delivers another delicious, frothy cocktail of a book, shaking up her characters, stirring in laugh-out-loud humor, and serving sizzling romance straight up! (Goodreads)
Have you ever watched a program where you are hoping for two characters to get over their issues and actually make a go at a relationship? Have you ever witnessed this coming true, only to find when the characters do get together, the writers find that there is nowhere really for their story to go?
If so, then Rusty Nailed may be in that same category, because, for me at least, that was the main reason why I found reading this book so difficult. The spice and heat between the main Caroline and Simon was lacking in the follow up to the wonder Wallbanger. The couple who seemed to drive each other crazy, only to succumb to their obvious attraction seemed to have settled into a life of domestic normalcy, that apart from a few brief glimmers of their old characters, they seemed so different.
I think this is where Clayton may have hit that old second book syndrome, many authors suffer from. They write a book that is just brilliant with the reader (me) devouring and sacrificing sleep to read on. As I stated in my opening paragraph, Simon and Caroline have fallen into that Comfort Zone. Yes, Clayton tries to add some conflict or challenges to their relationship in the form of Caroline’s recent promotion of responsibility that forces her to work hard. This means she has to sacrifice time with her “Wallbanger” Simon, which would normally not be an issue as he is usually travelling around the world on some photo-shoot. However, it just so happens that Simon is reassessing what he wants out of life, which meant that he is in San Francisco full time. This does cause some friction between the two of them, but this is regular relationship stuff, where what is seen as a fun fling is turning into something series.
For this I do commend Clayton because she chooses not to create unnatural conflict in order to give the book a storyline. It’s just that for me, it fell a bit flat. Caroline seems to be pushing a lot of her issues and fears deep down in this book to the point it would inevitably spill out. When it does, it is in a very realistic way and there is no real over-dramatics in it. Simon steps up to the plate and proves how much he is the dream literary boyfriend.
As with Wallbanger, Clive, Caroline’s pet cat provides the much needed comic relief. He is more human than cat and his closing chapter always makes me smile.
Unfortunately, Rusty Nailed seemed to suffer from second book syndrome where it just can’t live up to the excellence of the first. I did struggle with the book and kept picking it up and putting it down. That’s not to say the book isn’t brilliantly written, because that would be lying. Clayton stays true to her vision and you can see the natural progression of their relationship. This won’t put me off reading more of Clayton’s books and I plan to read Screwdrivered, the next book in the series, very soon.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
2 Rusty Nailed