The Book: Baring It All by Megan Frampton
The Particulars: Historical romance short story, 2013, Loveswept, digital only release
Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?: I picked it up at RWA 2013 in Atlanta. Also, see above disclaimer. I like Megan as a person, I thought maybe I should try reading some of her books.
"Why did she have to fall in love with someone so smart?And that pretty well sums up what I liked about this story. It's a quick, frothy concoction with some witty banter, equally witty internal monologues and some sexy shenanigans to spice up the proceedings.
Oh, that's right. Because a stupid man just wouldn't do."
Lady Violet is betrothed to Lord Christian Jepstow, whom she has known since they were children. She's, naturally, smitten as all get out - but the man doesn't seem to even notice she's a woman. A troublesome bit of suspicion for Violet since they do plan to marry. She'd prefer to have some passion in their marriage, instead of competing with his studies and various dead philosophers to gain his attention and affection. What ever is a girl to do? Well, take matters into her own hands of course! Turns out her BFF and Christian's sister is unexpectedly called away and is unable to complete writing her newspaper column about women's fashion - the topic du jour being undergarments. Violet proposes that they work on this endeavor together, and naturally the results = sexy times.
Enjoyment of this story hinges on a few things:
1) The reader has to be willing to go with the cotton candy, frothy tone of the tale the author lays out. This, my friends, is about as far from angst as the Care Bears or My Little Pony. I'm, generally speaking, an Angst Ho, but I loved the tone of this story and inhaled it in one sitting.
2) It's a short story, and by short story I mean short. Similar in length to a Harlequin Historical Undone - so about 50 pages. No sense in whining about it, it's a short story and it's not pretending to be anything else. I think it works very well in this format and I didn't feel "cheated." Hell, if anything, see #3....
3) This is, obvious from the first chapter, a short connected to the author's full-length release What Not To Bare, which just came out in October 2013. I do think this short does what any decent short story connected to a series should do - which is stand alone, but also whet your appetite for other stories set in the same universe. Mission accomplished!
I have the attention span of a fruit fly, and there are some days when Real Life is sucking out my very soul. This is why I love reading shorts, because sometimes 50-100 pages is just about all my poor lil' wee brain can handle. Yet I still want what feels like a complete story, and I want something that is going to entertain me while I'm on my lunch break at work, or trying to quickly unwind once I get home. That's what Frampton accomplished for me with Baring It All. One of the better short stories I've read in recent memory.
Final Grade = B+