Gwendolyne Price is a perfectly respectable librarian in a bit of a rut. She's in the middle of a divorce (and her ex is trying to screw her over on the sale of their house), and doesn't have much of a life outside of work. That is until one day when cleaning out the library's old-fashioned suggestion box she comes across a highly erotic letter addressed to her. It's full of naughty suggestions, purple prose, and it's signed "Nemesis."
Nemesis? Oh please...The man's a raving pervert, fond of purple prose and probably dangerous...and he calls himself Nemesis? It sounds like something a teenage gamer would call himself when playing online.Despite the obvious stalker-ish vibe of the letter, Gwendolyne finds it all oddly flattering. She's a smart girl, with ample curves in all the right places, but she's not the sort that inspires erotic love letters. No, her gut tells her Nemesis is a harmless pervert, and besides she's too busy being distracted by the library's visiting local celebrity, Professor Hottie McHotStuff AKA Professor Daniel Brewster. Between his shy academic demeanor, curly hair and glasses - I mean, how could a girl resist? Too bad their relationship is strictly professional....that is until they literally run into each other and Gwendolyne notices he can't stop looking at her boobs. Seems the Professor isn't completely immune to her charms.
What follows is a tango between Gwendolyn, Daniel and Nemesis - with our heroine wondering if Professor Hottie is masquerading as the letter-writing Nemesis. As the story carries on, she soon finds herself "in too deep" - between her growing feelings for Daniel, and her curiosity surrounding the secret that is obviously weighing on his mind. The man is hiding something that's for sure, and although she's determined to enjoy the fling (and oh, what a fling!), she can't seem to stop herself from falling hopelessly in love with him.
This book is so fabulously charming it's hard to know where to begin. Told entirely from Gwendolyne's point of view, In Too Deep ingratiates itself to the reader with it's self-deprecating manner and witty British-isms. I couldn't help smiling when Gwen tells the reader that she fancies Daniel "something rotten" and I can't tell you how many times this book had me laughing out loud....in a good way!
Daniel, oh sweet, adorable Daniel. I'm an equal opportunity girl when it comes to men and romantic heroes, but Daniel is my favorite sort of bloke. He's charming, he's sweet, and slightly unsure of himself until our dear heroine literally takes matters into her own hands. Once these two are burning up the library stacks together, he goes from sweetly Beta, to take-charge Alpha. It's enough to make a girl positively swoon.
Portia Da Costa keeps the proceedings hot, erotic, and mostly vanilla. Outside of shenanigans in public places, light bondage, and a bit of spanking, there's really nothing totally off the wall here. This is really a story of Gwen opening herself up to a new adventure, and Daniel pursuing her in his own way. When these two get their happy ending (and yes, there is a happy ending) I was sighing contentedly right along with the characters.
This is the sort of book that works best if the reader lets go and rides along with the fantasy. I could poke holes in this plot all day long - namely starting with the Nemesis letters and Gwen finding a Professor Hottie in a public library. I work in public libraries people. Most days we're just happy to see men who look like they bathe regularly and know how to use deodorant. Also, the reader has to trust Gwendolyne's gut involving Nemesis. I mean, a guy who leaves letters like that? Yeah, in real life they're creepy as hell and you're calling the cops. Just saying. So in order for this book to work, the reader has to be willing to suspend their disbelief.
I was willing to do that. Mostly because I was so utterly charmed by the end of the first chapter that I was too swept up in it all to nitpick it to death. As much as I loved Portia's other librarian heroine novel, The Tutor, this one is my new favorite. Sweet and funny, she charmed the socks right off of me. Good show!
Final Grade = A-
Note: This book is available now in the UK, and the US laydown date is November 11.