Larissa Ione – “Snowbound”

15 Feb

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Samhain Publishing, 2007

SERIES:

WHY THIS NOVEL: I had a gift certificate for an online ebook shop, this was available for a reduced price.

Passion hot enough to melt the slopesand their hearts. Thanks to a devastating medical diagnosis, ski patroller Sean Trenton has endured two years of celibacy. Two long years that have chipped away at his confidence. Now, with the career opportunity of a lifetime on the line, he’s ready to remedy the celibacy situation, and sexy snowbunny Robyn Montgomery is just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, the last thing reliable, intense radio station manager Robyn Montgomery wants in her suddenly turbulent professional and personal life is a thrill-seeking former Olympic skier even if he is a total hottie. Shes had it with guys who hog the spotlight and leave her in the shadows. So why is it that even an icy blizzard can’t temper the combustible heat between them?

Robyn is the successful music director of a radio station in Chicago. That’s probably as far as you can get from the fat, teased and scorned teenage girl she’s been in high school in a famous ski resort where everybody expected her to never leave town and just take over her parents’ bakery. But in this story, she’s going back for a high school reunion. She intends to show them all how far she has come. For that, she’s planning to bring along a (semi) celebrity (her ex) and she’s also volunteered to organize the traditional charity auction.

Only, it doesn’t work out as planned. Her ex cancels at the last possible moment which doesn’t only mean she has to show up at the reunion alone, it also means she has no celebrity to emcee the charity auction. She’ll look like a bungling idiot again. Her best friend Karen urges her to worry less and instead take the time to enjoy herself and “find some hunky ski guys to play hide-the-mitten with.”

Sean Trenton seems to fit that bill. Instant attraction, sexy hunk, a ski patroller (no celebrity!), fun and easy to talk to – the perfect material for a fling for the time Robyn stays in her former home town. That is, until Robyn realizes who Sean exactly is: a former winner of an Olympics medal (skiing). And just like that, Sean is out of the running. Robyn doesn’t want another involvement with someone famous because when it’s over (as a fling tends to do), there’ll be constant reminders of their time together thanks to the celebrity status.

Sean is at a crossroads in his life. Two years ago, he had to leave behind his life as a very successful and famous skier because of an accident. He settled into his life as a ski patroller fairly well but he’s looking for a change to spice things up and make them more like they had been before. For that, he contemplates a career in media as a sports announcer which would give him back some of his former life, he thinks – fame and an easy access to women. Of course, for the women part to work out it would help if he could work up a real sexual interest for the first time in two years. On top of that, or possibly the reason for it, there’s also something mysterious going on which makes Sean afraid to go horizontal with women.

So Sean is on the lookout for a likely candidate to get him over his anxiety concerning bedroom activities. For that, he’s at a bar after work together with his friend Todd. Sean sees a woman who is exactly the type of woman he went for before his accident – and who looks like a “sure thing” – and nada. He sees Robyn, he takes notice and things perk up. Robyn’s very different from the type of woman he went after before but Sean isn’t about to complain or question his attraction.

And that’s only the beginning. Robyn’s and Sean’s reasons for getting involved with each other and what they want from each other change again and again as they get to know each other better. Paralleling this, they also figure out who they are and what they want for their lives. Robyn faces her past and Sean faces his future. I liked that their problems partly revolved around the same issues (like the question of fame, for example). Both Robyn and Sean deal with their problems in a slightly immature way in the beginning (Robyn wanting to show off, Sean more or less hiding from it) but this changes. I also liked that they get to know each other (translation: they talk), their attraction and chemistry, and the dialog in general.

Todd leaned back in the booth and threw an arm over the back, blocking her. “Come on. Take pity on the guy. His dry spell has lasted longer than the Sahara’s. Help him get the ball rolling again.”
If Sean could have crawled into a hole and died, he would have. The heat in his face now had nothing to do with Robyn or the fire crackling nearby.
Robyn’s lips quivered with the need to smile, and her husky voice dripped with laughter. “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in rolling Sean’s balls.”
“Sean’s ball,” Todd corrected, “I said he’s trying to get his ball rolling, not balls.”
“You know,” Sean said in the lightest tone he could manage, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this conversation about my balls.”
“Or lack of them.” Todd grinned. (ch. 2)*

If I would be asked to come up with something to complain about, the only thing that comes to mind is that it’s rather predictable in what will be the big conflict. You know the stumbling blocks on their way to their HEA the moment they’re mentioned the first time in the story. You know that it’s coming but before that you’re treated to watching two people trying to figure out what they want from each other and what they could mean to each other. You see them making a connection and building a relationship, as unlikely as that might have seemed at the beginning.

Nearly in the same vein, predictable but not really bothering, I see the reason for Sean’s reluctance to get intimate with a woman and the way Robyn’s former tormentors at school act today. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, that’s too strong a word, but maybe resigned because it wasn’t the big deal I was lead to expect based on the way he behaved (which seems to be the case rather often with romance novels). But then again, Sean’s story is about finding himself and growing, so it fits. And the way Robyn’s former high school tormentors treated her after all these years…let’s just say I have the impression that in this kind of story, romance novels are peopled with characters who don’t grow up by obligation. Or as Sean says:

“Yeah, it’s amazing,” he said and Janice and Gigi exchanged looks of mutual satisfaction. “Amazing that ten years later, you still act like you’re in high school.” (ch. 11)*

Snowbound is a nice, fun, warm and heartfelt straight contemporary romance with two likable and well-drawn protagonists who share a strong attraction and have good chemistry. I really enjoyed reading Snowbound and I would love to read more contemporaries by Ione.

Verdict: I liked it. (strong 4/5)

* the page wouldn’t tell you much because I read it as an ebook

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2 Responses to “Larissa Ione – “Snowbound””

  1. Christine Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Aww… this story sounds really sweet. And really fitting to read right now as we still have over a foot of snow on the ground and it’s been snowing all day. And because the Olympics are on right now and we’re watching a lot of skiing. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for the review! πŸ™‚

  2. Taja Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Christine – you’re welcome. πŸ™‚ Snowbound is a really sweet story and you’re right, it fits perfectly at the moment. I definitely would recommend it.

    “over a foot of snow” – I’m jealous! (I think *g*)

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