Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review for Just For Kicks by Susan Andersen

Growing up, Wolfgang Jones' family moved from embassy to embassy and he resented the class distinctions each new home brought him.  Now that he's grown up, he has a plan and that is to become the head of security in the private sector in Middle America and marry the perfect woman.  But he doesn't count on becoming entangled in the life of his annoying, yet oh so sexy Showgirl neighbor Carly Jacobsen.  Between her yapping dogs and the nephew who's recently moved in with him though, Wolfgang is forced into spending more time with Carly and the two of them soon embark on a friends with benefits relationship.  The relationship is supposed to end once he gets offered his dream job, but when a stalker threatens Carly's life Wolfgang's plans for the future no longer seem so clear and the woman he once thought inappropriate for him now seems perfect.

This is a reissue of an early Susan Andersen book and the second installment in her Showgirls series.  The first book in the series is Skintight and it's not necessary to have read it to become enthralled by this story.  The characters are likable with believable fears and emotions in a story that flows along beautifully.

Wolfgang Jones is a character that evolves as the story goes along and I became greatly invested in his character seeing the affect Carly has on him and how open he becomes.  He learned at an early age to keep to himself so he wouldn't be hurt and Carly drags him out into the world to get him involved in people's lives.  You can see their love forming early on through these moments in public where he relies on her and she makes sure he's a part of things.  Before long he's relying on her for even more and for a man who's always dealt with things on his own it becomes a subtle declaration of love.

Another large change in Wolfgang's life that brings him out of his shell is his nephew Niklaus moving in.  Niklaus is the teenage version of Wolfgang and it made me cry seeing him give Niklaus the time and attention he should've had as a teen.  Their relationship brings out the tender side of Wolfgang and you can see why Carly falls in love with him.  Niklaus too is an interesting character that a lot of the story revolved around.  I enjoyed his character so much that I'd love to see him as an adult in a story of his own.  Are you listening Ms. Andersen?

Carly is a strong-willed woman who can take care of herself and a character you can't help but root for.  She loves animals, spends time with terminally-ill children, and has lots of wonderfully colorful friends.  She has her own family baggage but has put it behind her and you can tell from the moment she comes on the scene that she's exactly what Wolfgang needs to be happy.  She's a wonderful character who you'd love to know in real life.

The only disappointing aspect of this book, and it's a very small criticism, is that we know the identity of the stalker very early on.  This doesn't at all lessen the enjoyment of the story since this part of the story doesn't play a large part in the overall storyline.  It's merely the moment when Wolfgang finally realizes just how important Carly is to him.  Except for that one small flaw this is a wonderful book with witty dialogue, memorable secondary characters, and is just as enjoyable to read this time around as when it was first released.
My rating for this is an A.
*Book cover photo courtesy of

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