How to Misbehave (Novella)

How to Misbehave - Ruthie Knox Ruthie Knox always makes my GoodReads shelving difficult. She writes stories that seem to fall neatly into certain tropes, but then there's a surprising side -- the romance cliches turn out to be real people.The first in a family series (which I didn't realize until I read the author's note, because there's only the tiniest touch of sequel-baiting), this is about Amber, a "good girl" whose goodness hasn't been working well for her lately. "It wasn't that she wanted to misbehave. She just wanted to locate some other set of standards, some way to be and feel without worrying so much about doing the right thing all the time." After losing her unquestioning religious faith, and two crappy boyfriends, she's ready for a change. A tornado lands her alone in a basement with Tony, a construction worker at the community center she heads. They have some things in common -- Tony's bad boy past didn't work out very well for him, either, but he's been too guilt-ridden to replace it with something else.As Tony and Amber get to know each other, they smash each others preconceptions -- especially Amber, who (like Knox's Nev in [b:About Last Night|13414764|About Last Night|Ruthie Knox||18714133]) refuses to let Tony stereotype her. And Tony's offhand joke about teaching her how to misbehave properly -- because she's doing such a lousy job of it -- becomes a verbal seduction of each other, which by the end of the storm leads to bed. I loved the sex scenes, because they're so believable, as well as hot. Amber has never had good sex -- again, a romance cliche which in the context of her life totally works -- and they have to work for it. "He was going to need her help to get her all the way there. He liked sex, he paid attention, but he wasn't Houdini."This is a great choice if you want to read something short and steamy that's also about real people making a real connection. The ending perhaps slightly rushes a HEA.(Trigger warning: past death of a child)(reviewed from e-arc provided by NetGalley)