Saturday, August 23, 2014

#BookReview: Love Bites by Ophelia London - 4.5 Wine Glasses

22796529Title: Love Bites 
Series: Sugar City
Author: Ophelia London 
Published: August 18th 2014 by Entangled Bliss
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | ARe
Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 4.5/5
Falling in love is like swimming with sharks…

Sharona Blaire is only in Australia for a business audit, but she’s determined to make the most of her one free night. So when she spills her drink on a handsome stranger and they end up flirting, she does something completely out of character—she kisses him. But the prospect of taking it further totally freaks her out…almost as much as discovering the next morning that the man she’s auditing is the sexy, tanned stranger she left with zero explanation. 

An audit during his crew’s most important expedition yet is a complication marine biologist Jeff Cruz doesn't need—especially when the auditor is the gorgeous, fascinating woman from the night before. Out at sea with nowhere to run, he’s forced to admit Sharona draws him in like a shark to blood. But Jeff's one passion is his job, and nothing—not even love—will get its hooks in him...

Sharks & Romance!   

"I don't spill my drinks on just any man, you know."  She touched his cheek.  "only dashing shark lovers with panty dropping accents."

LOVE BITES by Ophelia London is the first book in her new Entangled Bliss series, Sugar City.  I was in shark week withdrawal until I discovered LOVE BITES.   I found it to be the perfect beach read and the answer to my shark obsession.   It's a quick read at just 117 pages.  It grabbed my attention from the first page and I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it.  This is the fourth book I've read by Ophelia and each one has been a fun and sexy treat.

I loved the characters, human and not, the setting and the storyline in LOVE BITES!  Sharona Blair, our heroine,  is reeling from her breakup with her boss.  That same boss has now assigned her to this rush audit in Australia.  Sharona is a klutz and, in one day, she has managed to spill her drink twice, once on the plane and once in the hotel bar.  Come to find out one man was the recipient of both:

"Think of it this way," he rubbed a fist under his square jaw, "If we hadn't been on the same flight or at the same hotel, you would've had no one to spill your drinks on."

Crazy as it seems, Sharona finds herself attracted to this charming, kissable man who is smiling over her clumsy behavior.  She's never been one for one-night-stands but it appears that she's sure headed that way with Jeff Cruz, our hero.  
Hooking up with a tall, dark stranger in a bar wasn't anywhere on her to do-do list, but as she eyed those broad shoulders, the thick neck, strong-looking hands, and gorgeous mouth...

What the hell, maybe he should be on the top of her "to-do" list.

Our hero, aka Dr. Great White Han Solo Jeff Cruz, finds himself insanely attracted to this mysterious woman in the hotel's pub.  He is very protective of his heart and not interested in an entanglement, but perhaps a one-night stand is just what he needs.   They each have other commitments tomorrow and they will never see each other again, but a tryst is definitely in the works for tonight. 

"Tell me if this is too forward," he said in a low voice that was surprisingly shaky, "but do you want to come---"
"Yes," she answered, exhaling hot breath on his neck.
He grinned and gave her hip a squeeze.  "I must say, this has been the most pleasant surprise I could imagine."
"You're not very imaginative, then."  She gave him the flirty eyes.
"Good thing I am."

Of course, there are complications.  AND things don't work out as planned.  I connected to both of these characters easily and appreciated the way the story was told in each of their points of view.  Dual POV works very well here. 

Sharona was a realistic and romantic heroine and I could relate to her clumsiness and sympathize with her tendency to seasickness.  Jeff was a swoonworthy shark expert who shared interesting educational information about sharks while dallying with Sharona.  For instance, until I read this, I did not know that sharks deliver love bites to their partner during their mating ritual.  Jeff was HOT!  His grin was described as a cross between Han Solo and Thor.  What woman wouldn't succumb to that especially when paired with his sexy blue eyes and his Aussie accent?  Ever since Sharona said she could hear "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" in her mind when she looked at him, that song has been playing in my mind.    

I loved the way they deliciously bantered with each other.  My favorite scene was when Sharona had a bout of seasickness and Jeff used an innovative technique to make it go away!   I also thoroughly enjoyed the scene where he talked about the mating habits of sharks:

"One of the most elusive things about the white shark is their, uh..."  His eyes moved to hers and he held them there.
"Their what?" she asked when he didn't finish, a bit rapt by his expression.
He kept his eyes locked on her. 
"Their mating."
"Mating," she repeated, feeling a flutter in her stomach at the way he was looking at her...then suddenly not looking at her.
"We don't know if individual animals spawn in a certain spot every time --- kind of like a human might go to a particular pub if she wants some action.  Just an example, mind you?
She folded her arm, feeling her cheeks heat up.  "Pub.  Uh-huh."
Jeff leaned against the railing, his expression looking smug at her embarrassment.  "For all we know, sharks are just, ya know, doing it everywhere."
"Like the Kardasians?" ....
"But who knows.  Maybe, if we play just the right mood music, you and I will get lucky, Sharona Blaire."
Was he talking about shark reproduction... or human?
And... was he flirting?  Earlier, he'd gone cold and hostile when she'd tried to apologize.  The man was a ball of contradiction.  A very sexy, very nice-smelling contradiction.
"Well."  She swallowed, staring in his eyes.  "I'm all for getting lucky."

I chuckled over some of the names Ophelia used.  For instance, the ship they were on was the Mad Hatter.  One of the sharks Jeff and his crew were tracking was named Waltzing Matilda. 

Ophelia's smooth, visual writing style had me on the ocean with the characters looking out over the magnificent aqueous panorama.  I've not read any other romances pairing sharks and romance and found this coupling highly entertaining.   I wasn't ready for this story to end!  More sharks and romance please!

If you love chocolate, you're going to want to pick up the next book in this series too!  It's set in Hershey, PA., the hometown of Hershey's chocolate.  Natalie, Sharona's best friend, will be the heroine.  Natalie is a food chemist with Hershey and has the awesome job of playing with chocolate all day!  I love chocolate!

I highly recommend LOVE BITES to anyone who enjoys shark week.  IF you have enjoyed Jaws, Sharknado,  Sharktopus, etc, you need to read this book!   If you are looking for a book with laughs, intense set-your-sheets-on-fire chemistry, a beautiful setting, well-drawn characters and a sweet, flirty romance, LOVE BITES awaits!  Bravo to Ophelia for such a great start to the Sugar City series!

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