Archive | 6:00 pm

Kathleen O’Reilly – “Nightcap”

13 Feb

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Blaze, 2008

SERIES: “Sexy O’Sullivans” series, #3

WHY THIS NOVEL: I have the first two books in this series, so I had to get this one, too.

The back blurb:
“Sean O’Sullivan claims that his family’s landmark bar is the victim of City Hall shenanigans only means more work for Cleo Hollings, the mayor’s number one mover and shaker. Since Sean’s got her busy, she decides she’ll keep Mr. Testosterone busy, too…but between the sheets.
Yet sleeping with the hunky O’Sullivan isn’t that simple. Everyone said Sean would be inexhaustible–even unforgettable. Nobody warned her he was lovable, too. Now other clubs’ drinks taste like dust. Nothing measures up to a nightcap–with a chaser of O’Sullivan stud!”

The back blurb makes Nightcap sound much more fluffy than it actually is.

Nightcap is the story of two strong people who are used to getting what they want. In particular, it’s the story of Cleo Hollings, who might be “the mayor’s number one mover and shaker” in New York, but who has to face things in her private life that, no matter how hard she tries, she won’t be able to beat in the long run. That’s a tough deal for a woman who likes to sort out messes and take responsibility. Cleo thrives on conflict and after she took the advice of one of her superiors (a woman) to heart – to grow a pair – there was no stopping her and she’s now deputy mayor at the age of 31.

Sean O’Sullivan is the one guy you go to when you want to get things fixed. He knows all and everyone and if he doesn’t, thanks to his charm this soon changes. The result is always the same: things get fixed. Only, the problems with his brother’s bar Prime just keep coming: one problem solved, two new ones on the horizon. He decides to approach Cleo Hollings for the hopefully end-all solution. This is more based on her looks than on her being the one best suited for what he needs and nicely introduces what Sean is (was) all about, IMO.

Nightcap really shines when these two go at it, verbally (and non-verbally). I mean, Sean is a lawyer – and a very good one at that – and Cleo is a very good politician. They know how to talk their way out of anything and how to get their way, so when these two talk, sparks fly. They can’t bullshit each other and I loved that.

More good things: the voice mail messages they exchange, the Town Hall meeting with Cleo in pink, two main characters we actually see working and who have to struggle and compromise to get it all done: work, family, social life. The real conflict in Nightcap is how Cleo and Sean can reconcile these different demands and make it all work. And: a woman who has a pair and isn’t afraid to show it.

So these are the things I loved.

Things I didn’t love as much:

  1. The short time frame. The conflict and the story would have benefited from more time (and space).
  2. I didn’t completely believe in the romance (again, the time frame). I especially had difficulty to believe Sean’s knowing it’s love so soon.
  3. I thought there would be more about the problems with the bar because it was part of all three novels, but it’s just what brings Cleo and Sean together. It stays in the background for most of the story and the solution seemed slightly “off,” disappointing maybe.

Verdict: Nightcap falls between Shaken and Stirred (which I thought good) and Sex, Straight Up (which I loved). There were parts I really liked and if not for the quibbles stated above, this would have been a 4,5/5. As it is, Nightcap is a good conclusion to the series, making “Those Sexy O’Sullivans” a very strong trilogy. 4/5.