Saturday, December 9, 2017

Book Review: 'Innocent Next Door' by Shelley Munro


It’s said that if you take the sex out of a book and you still have a good story then it’s well written. Add the sex back in and the story potentially becomes even better, depending on how those scenes are delivered. Ms. Munro presents readers with a sure pleaser on every level because this novel rocks with the sex or without – the romantic suspense in Innocent Next Door is gripping and intense but when Nikolai and Summer finally succumb to their passions it’s as hot and spicy as an erotic reader could wish. I really enjoyed myself and loved the whole concept behind their romance.
What stood out for me besides the well written protagonists, excellent descriptions of environment and the setting of the stage for the conflict was how Ms. Munro addressed the violence and threats that Summer and Nikolai had to face. The hero and his buddies, as well as Summer’s two brothers, are military, SAS soldiers. That stands for Special Air Service; I had to look it up. In this book, there were no shootings or guns tipping the scales one way or the other. After reading about those soldiers, it’s completely believable to me that Nikolai and the rest are lethal weapons themselves and they don’t need hardware to take the bad guys down. I was very impressed with the SAS I read about in real life and I completely agree with Ms. Munro’s choice to highlight how perfect these men are as heroes. They are on par with the US’s Navy SEALS. After meeting Jake and Louie, Josh and Dillon, I can’t wait to read more in the world of the Military Men series the author has created. After seeing them in action in Innocent Next Door I’m honestly fascinated and eager for more.
That being said, the heroine, Summer, might be young but she’s not entirely innocent. She has a protective family that trained her in the basics, and she takes self-defense classes, but it’s her way with books that charmed me. I liked her sass, her confidence and her willingness to own her own actions, even when she messes up, and boy, does she ever. Her decision making process is influenced by her youth but another admirable aspect is her determination to take responsibility when it needs doing, she just has a tendency to not wait for ‘expert opinions’. She wants to stand on her own two feet, and that’s a commendable trait, but not when she gets in over her head, which she does. That is her role in the conflict and she navigates it well because she has help, eventually.
Nikolai is a yummy hero. Even injured, he’s a take charge kind of guy with a noble heart. That nobility is put to the test when in the presence of a tantalizing and nubile Summer as she wreaks havoc with all his good intentions. That man/woman conflict makes for some excellent reading and many opportunities for laughter and giggles. Until, it turns sultry and giggles turn to moans. That is good too.
I think many readers will find this book totally and completely perfect but my rating is a result of my personal preference on not liking dream sequences that give extremely detailed descriptions of a sexual encounter that isn’t real. The fireworks between Summer and Nikolai are flammable and intriguing enough that I prefer to read about things when they really happen to them. On the upside, it was actually short and the author does handle it well, I just don’t like them.
What I did like were the lighthearted moments. I usually don’t have a reason to laugh about condoms in a romance story but I sure giggled a lot in Innocent Next Door because of what Summer says and does regarding them. Poor Nikolai. And there I go, grinning again. There’s a great sense of humor woven in this tale too and it’s showcased through dialogue and actions. It was very entertaining.
Innocent Next Door has to be one of the best examples of Ms. Munro’s talent. It has everything an erotic romantic suspense reader could want. The plot is exciting, the characters are awesome and all I wanted at the end of the book was more. I enthusiastically recommend Innocent Next Door to all readers who like action, excitement, a well-developed romance and a happy ever after that leaves a booklover satisfied. This is a winner.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.