Read an excerpt: here
Ella was finally doing things her way. She moved to Austin to live with her boyfriend, Dane, and escaped the constant limbo of inadequacy she felt while with her family back in Houston.She writes an advice column for Vibe magazine, where her alter ego (Miss Independent) gives advice on life, love and our favorite subject, sex. It's ironic, seeing as how she is as emotionally messed up as most of her readers. She suffered a dysfunctional childhood where she always had to step-up, protect her younger sister, Tara, from the sexual abuse of one of their step-father, and have her self-esteem constantly torn down by their perfectionist of a mother.
It is no surprise that when inconvenience befalls her mothers strenuous social life, that she receives the call of a lifetime. Her sister, in need of psychological help to battle the demons of her hazy past, has a son whom she promptly drops-off and leaves at their mother house. The mother threatens to call social services and have the child taken away because she isn't willing to look after it; so the task falls to Ella. Reluctant at first, because her boyfriend is apprehensive to children in general and tells her not to come back to Austin with the child, Ella makes the 3 hour drive to Houston and has her heart stolen in a flash.
It is at first believed that business-savvy, Jack Travis, is Ella's nephew, Luke's, father. Ella goes to Jack's office building and manages a meeting with him. Surprisingly, he not only agrees to the DNA test, but helps Ella find a hotel to stay in (because most were booked to capacity due to a convention being held in town). He follows up on his word, and even sets up the doctors appointment, when it is revealed that Tara had an affair with a very married, very public figure, and that he was currently footing the bill for her stay at a mental health clinic. Ella relieves Jack of any further obligation and promises to never bother him again.
Jack is ever-persistent though and manages a dinner with Ella; where he charms her silly. Other interactions and dates follow, including Jack's assistance in getting her an apartment in his family-owned building. Although she couldn't afford it, she strikes a deal with the previous owner; Jack's sister Haven, and the ladies become fast friends. Although marriage has been off the table in her relationship with Dane, Jack begins to fall hard for Ella and experiences difficulty in getting her to take the risk necessary for something deeper than bedtime attraction. Ella learns to take leaps of faith and trust in a love that is so precious and was almost snatched away from her.
Rating: 4 "Aww's"
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is when Ella and Haven are having a casual drink night in Haven's apartment with her fiancee (Hardy)-the sanagria is plentiful- and in passing, Hardy invites Jack to come up for dinner. The group convinces Ella to stay too, and need-for-sleep mixed with alcohol leads the mother of all knock outs. She's sitting on the couch with Jack as the influences start to take effect and wakes up practically drooling on his lap. He just sat there, enjoying the way she forgot herself around him and felt comfortable enough to sleep on him. It was a really sweet moment.
All in all, this book didn't really lack as much as it gave. We got the fiery passion (see sexy, first-time in the parking garage love scene), character growth (slowly, but surly), and that classic Kleypas conflict which made each chapter a page turner. It's simple enough; if you'd like to read a good book, pick up this one!
*The first book in the Travis Series, 'Sugar Daddy' is a must read/ My Review can be found: here
* A four-part interview by borders with Lisa Kleypas, where she discuss' 'Smooth-Talking Stranger' and touches on her other contemporaries, can be found:
-here for part 1
-here for part 2
-here for part 3
-here for part 4