Curve Ball (Xcite Romance)

Curve Ball - Charlotte Stein A woman goes on vacation with a couple and the guy she hates is invited along... I was afraid at first this was going to be a replay of Stein's [b:Restraint|15703224|Restraint|Charlotte Stein||21364151]. As it turned out, it kind of is, but in reverse. Here, the narrator Judy is the insecure one whose contempt for her old friend Steve is a mask for her intense attraction. When she blows up at him for making digs at her weight (she thinks), the relationship between them shifts dramatically.Judy, who lies somewhere in the ill-defined land of thinks-she's-fat, has terrible self-esteem. But instead of being boring, her anxious, self-conscious narrative is utterly hilarious:"He can never pretend he didn't pull open my dress, because I'm now missing a button. Of course he could probably sew the button back on and act like nothing happened, but I don't think he's much of an arts and crafts sort of person. Plus, that whole scenario is insane.""his expression... reads more like a really filthy book that's missing pages four to 50. Suddenly everything jumps from 'oh hello, how are you?' to threeway anal -- and he just wasn't prepared, I don't think."Steve really is kind of a large, sexy doof, which is sort of charming; in some very hot scenes, he does a great job of finally making Judy feel desirable: "'Do you want me?' I ask, without the slightest doubt that he'll answer me in a way that doesn't hurt. It's a startling sensation -- this lack of fear, this ability to say whatever's on my mind -- but it's a welcome one. It rubs against all the excitement and the arousal, until I'm a dirty-mouthed ball of flaming fire."Judy's low self-esteem does get tiresome at times, and the ending of the story is a little over the top into Happy Ever After. But it's mostly delightful.