Nicola Rendell’s latest romance Just Like That might be the sexiest and swooniest thing we’ve read this year. Our 5 star review!
[For Mature Audiences; Some Spoilers]
Funmbi’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
When I first got the review copy of Just Like That on my kindle, honestly, I was a little afraid to start. I first came across Nicola Rendell’s writing in August 2016 and she completely bowled me over. And this is exactly what scared me. I knew that once I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Was I ready for another sleepless night? Was I ready for the moments where I’d have to stop reading and literally flail? Was I ready for the crazy book hang-over and the re-reading I’d have to do because nothing could make me feel these emotions again? No, I wasn’t ready, but I dove in anyway, because who can resist a good thing? Just as predicted, I binged all night.
The thing about Nicola’s stories is that I want to completely gobble up her words, just devour the book. Yet, I also want to slow down and savor it. I can never reconcile these competing feelings and I, inevitably, end up wishing I could read for the first time again. But as I came to the end of Just Like That, I had no regrets, not one.
This story is so beautiful in its simplicity: the intimacy of the romance, the hotttttttttt sex, the dance of starting a new relationship and all the push-pull of figuring out how/if two lives can fit together. *SWOONY SIGH* Like Mary Poppins, Just Like That is practically perfect in every way!
We begin with Russ Stevenson, as he’s just landed in Port Flamingo, FL on business. And in the middle of the standard chaos of baggage claim, he sees the most beautiful woman. Being the confident guy he is, Russ approaches her and attempts to assist her in untangling her headphones (those earpod wires get so flipping, tangly!). Their banter is pretty flirty, and while she’s friendly, she isn’t interested in getting dinner. She ends up grabbing her bag and making her way out of the airport. But fate intervenes, because she takes Russ’ bag. He eventually finds hers, and being the responsible person she is, Penelope Darling has written her address and number on the ID tag. Since Russ doesn’t have any service, I guess this means he’s driving to Penelope’s place so they can switch bags.
When Russ arrives, Penny is surprised. She’s on a No Man Diet, and this guy is making it really tough to be good. Penny ends up agreeing to dinner (which goes pear-shaped when Russ has an allergic reaction to the sea food). An evening at Urgent Care and conversation about her dog Guppy and Dickens leads to the most incredible first kiss (“Transported. Shot in a cannon right over the moon.”), and the hottest, HAWWWWTEST sexy times:
I’ve never in my life been with a man like this. There’s no negotiation, no ridiculous fames, no preening, tentative questions, like, Is that too hard? It’s never too hard, never. Or, Is that the right spot? If you’re asking, honey, the answer is a great big no. He asks no questions, except for when he checks on me. He takes me with no nonsense at all. Total, encompassing self-confidence and touchable masculinity. He knows what he’s doing, he know how to do it, and he goes for it. Like a falcon going in for the kill. I’ll be this guy’s mouse any old day…
…On and on he goes, until I can’t see straight, until every thrust makes my whole body pulse. I grip his magnificent ass with my hands and keep him close, and then… It starts… To happen.
IT happens and IT is gloriously delicious and toe-curling and ohmygawwwwww!
Things become very clear for Russ: he’s only in town for a week, but when you meet a girl like Penny and have that spark, you just can’t say no. He makes a proposal: one week, no strings attached, but all the fun. However, things get complex, when Russ’ job puts him in a situation where he has to deceive Penny and perhaps even hurt her and her family. Sure, they’ve only known one another for a short time, but maybe love can happen just like that? (See what I did there 😉 )
In our interview with Nicola yesterday, I asked her about what she finds attractive about the “lust/love at first sight”. She said:
There is something explosive about that initial passion, and something subversive about the notion that you can fall hard, fast, and passionately in a relatively short period of time. That does not mirror real life—it is a fantasy made real.
This definitely comes through in Just Like That and this is one of my favorite aspects of Russ and Penny’s relationship. It’s not fair to call it insta-love. I mean, the spark is there and the sex is explosive, but even both characters acknowledge that relationships have to be built on more. The great thing is how, for Russ and Penny, more is clearly on the agenda. Interestingly, that process of getting to know one another leads to some interesting adventures, including trying to take down a shady real estate developer who has a secret furry kink (L.O.L.).
Speaking of kink…during his attempt to open up to Penny, Russ reveals he has a tumblr account: DominantR76. Incidentally, Nicola confirms that it was real and I may/may not (MAY!) have taken a look *SWOONS*COLLAPSES*
And Russ is very much into trying out all the kinky he’s learned from tumblr…
…But then there’s always the sweetness:
“You make me feel like I’m everything. Like I’m the only woman in the world.”
He sweeps the lone tear away with his rough thumb and start deep inside me, letting me recover and catch my breath.
“Because you are.”
If I’m to offer any critique, I would say that the ending, while satisfying, seems a little rushed. The resolution is definitely an HEA, but given concerns about a long-distance relationship, it feels abrupt to have all of the complications fall by the wayside. Alas, for Russ and Penny, I’m totally willing to suspend my disbelief and drink allllllll the fantasy kool-aid.
Just Like That is MUSTREAD for all fans of romance, especially if you like love at first sight, light-BDSM kink, and a some humor with your erotica.
As for me, I’ll be re-reading, grabbing my signed copy, and not so patiently waiting for Nicola’s next project!
Katie’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Nicola Rendell has an extremely rare gift. She can hook me within the first chapter, and with Just Like That, she upped her game and locked me with one line:
“I bet I can untangle you.”
Now, Russ is being smooth as hell, but he knows when to come on strong, and he knows when to back off, so when Penny shuts him down at the airport, he tries to shrug off his loss. Then he can’t help but run into her again, because she’s got his bag, and he’s got hers, faulting handle and all.
This novel is fun, y’all. It’s funny, sweet, sexy, swoony. It makes me feel so many adjectives that I can’t fully explain all of them. I went into this book knowing that I would like it, but I didn’t know how quickly I’d fall in love with it.
Russ and Penny are so great together, and their chemistry is off the charts.
“Think you can handle me?”
“If you teach me.”
Shit, how sexy is that? I tip her chin up toward my face. “Yeah, I’ll teach you. But I want you to be fucking explicit.”
“About what…” She trails off as I lick a line up her throat.
“About what you like and how you like it. I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, and I don’t want to fuck around.” I drag my tongue along the clamshell edge of her ear. “Be dirty, be rude. Tell me what you want and don’t hold back.”
**fans self** MERCY.
Inside this quote is the crux of our problem…
Russ isn’t supposed to stay in town for long. He’s just there to do some private investigating. He and Penny need to work out whether or not this is a fling or are they both willing to try for more.
I think the progression of their relationship, their hesitancies, and their decisions are very realistic. The side plot and supporting characters are incredible. I don’t feel like I’m doing this novel justice because it’s really that good.
Do yourself a big favor and treat yourself to Just Like That and then work your way through Nicola’s catalogue! These are the romances you’re looking for!
Check out teasers from Just Like That below (you can also read an excerpt HERE), add it to your Goodreads TBR list, and then RUN to download and start readings!
P.S. Take a look at our EXCLUSIVE interview with Nicola HERE, where we discuss the romance genre, her current projects, and more!
***Many thanks for the author and Ardent Prose PR for advanced review copies.