Kiss Me if You Can by Carly Phillips
published by HQN Books in July 2010
Sam Cooper ("Coop") has just become the most eligible bachelor in New York City. Now that he has foiled a jewelry-store robbery and has been rewarded with the ring of his choice, single women all over the city are fawning over the crime reporter. But Coop isn't interested in the admirers sending racy underwear his way. His attention is centered solely on Lexie Davis, the only woman in the city who claims not to be interested in his bachelor status.
Instead, free-spirited Lexie is interested in Coop's antique ring, and its-potentially scandalous-history in her family. But Coop is quickly becoming more than just her route to the ring. When his investigation starts to uncover the truth, will she trust her heart-and her family secrets-to this most eligible bachelor?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Most Eligible Bachelor, Book #1
The Story: Sam Cooper is a crime beat reporter by day and a writer by night. While buying a hotdog at his favorite stand, he sees a jewel store being robbed and with quick thinking, is able to catch the armed thief. As a reward, he is given an antique Trifari ring. When he looks up the gaudy ring in the internet, Coop finds out that the set was stolen 50 years ago. As a reporter and novelist, his curiosity is aroused...
Lexie Davis enjoys traveling tremendously. As a web designer, she can work anywhere and therefore, is gone months at a time, discovering new world and enjoying the freedom it provides. However, she is currently in town till her grandmother's birthday. The ring Coop has received seems to match her grandmother's favorite necklace and thus, Lexie wants to acquire it. When she contacts Coop, he lets her know of the ring's origins and that he has no intention of relinquishing the ring till he finds out what happened. Due to their strong attractions, Coop and Lexie decide to work together... not knowing the truth could unravel some family secrets that Lexie didn't know exist.
My Opinion: I requested Kiss Me If You Can after reading Leslie's review. She enjoyed it a lot and so, I was hoping it'd be a winner for me as well. It turned out to be a fun book with some ups and down.
Kiss Me If You Can started out really well in my opinion. It definitively opened with a bang and it continued well with the introduction of Coop and Lexie and their attraction. I also liked the idea of a stolen ring and the two of them figuring out the mystery behind it. The mystery itself was a bit far-fetched, but it works with the kind of book Kiss Me If You Can is, fun contemporary. Add in Lexie's grandmother who was just such a hoot and yeah, I could totally imagine it :)
Since it was such a fun book, what happened to mar my enjoyment? Basically, it comes down to the characters and the relationship conflict. Coop and Lexie were two well-developed and interesting characters. Coop and Lexie both had issues and baggage with their family that made them more realistic, without being too crippling or melodramatic. I actually liked the characters. The problem was when they stopped communicating once the relationship became more than a fling. See, Coop's ex-wife was a flight attendant - that means, she was often gone and at one point, preferred being gone which led to an affair which led to the divorce. Meanwhile, in her youth, Lexie was stifled by her parents, their expectations and a perfect sister. Her excursions with her grandmother allowed her to escape, to be free and that translated into adulthood as Lexie's love for traveling. She is gone many months at a time, so much that she doesn't even have a home of her own, instead, she lives with her grandmother whenever she is back in New York. You can see where there'd be a problem, right? Coop is not really thrilled by Lexie's love of traveling and Lexie is planning to leave after her grandmother's birthday... They were both aware of this before they started their affair and still decided to go ahead. Okay, fine. It wasn't really the smartest move, but it happens soooo often. Then, the relationship quickly became more. I understand that it took them by surprise, they weren't prepared for it and didn't really know what to do. Still, at that point, I think they should have sit down and talk it out, instead of tiptoeing around the subject, both being stubborn about their position. How can you work through a problem if you don't discuss it? How can you make a relationship work without putting efforts into it and compromising? I thought this was a really unfortunate turn of event. I mean, the relationship started out so well; Coop and Lexie had chemistry, sexual tension... and it was all lost once the conflict appeared :( Worst is that lack of communication in a couple has become such a generic conflict, it's quite maddening.
As a result, the second half of Kiss Me If You Can wasn't as interesting. Once Coop and Lexie got into their stalemate, I started losing interest in the events. The attraction was still there, but the relationship was just not going anywhere. Then, it got more complicated as the mystery unfolded and the communication was almost non-existent. The auction at the end was more about setting up the next book in the series than herding Coop and Lexie in the right direction. Of course, in the end, it all worked out... although I would have preferred it was because they communicated instead of the "Oh, I almost lost you" trope. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that Coop and Lexie got their HEA ending and that Lexie worked out some of her issues with her family. Plus, I liked the resolution concerning the mystery. However, I don't think the second half didn't quite live up to the first...
My Grade: B-. While I had some issues with how the relationship unfolded, Kiss Me if You Can was still a fun and quick read. For a more articulated review, you can take a look at Hilcia's :)