Start Me Up

Start Me Up - Victoria Dahl I hate green peas. Here I am, nearly thirty, and I pick green peas out of my food.I love Indian food. The hotter the better. Nothing hits the spot quite like it.So, what this book is, is a delicious plate of Indian food, spiced so hot I'm sweating, with a ton of friggin peas in it.The relationship is the superbly spiced vindaloo. Lori Love is stuck in a rut and feeling restless. Ten years ago she left Boston College (Eagles REPRESENT!) and her hard won scholarship to rush back to care for her father after a terrible incident leaves him brain damaged. He died a year ago, but she's still working in the family auto garage, still single and still not college educated. It's all left her in a funk, so she's decided to get girlified (I've decided that's a word) and find herself some no strings attached sex.Fortunately, or unfortunately, her bff Molly Jennings' brother is down with some Lori loving. Quinn is an ideas man, an architect who gets so absorbed in his work he forgets about people. Missing dates, birthdays and anniversaries makes him a relationship failure, so he figures friends with benefits status just might be the key to keeping a woman around a bit longer than a month or two.The chemistry between the two is off the charts. Since this is just "meaningless" sex for them, Quinn makes a show of grabbing her erotic romance novels as research. Their subsequent reenactmentments of the sex scenes are hot, and a little funny. When she starts smiling while he has her tied up one night, he whispers, "You're ruining the mood." Outside the bedroom, he's attentive and suspiciously thoughtful for a supposed scatterbrain. After seeing she's got posters of far flung destinations lining the walls of her old bedroom, and realizing she wants to see the world, he takes her to an Andalusian restaurant in Aspen. Wanting to give her a taste of Spain, he speaks to the owner in flawless Spanish, orders for her to introduce her to the exotic food and dances with her in the courtyard. I sighed, I'll admit it.But the peas! The terrible green peas that comprised the suspense plot.Dahl has full-on Putney-itis. Here's this great relationship drama, but OH NO, we have to have excitement too. Ugh. It's just weakly developed and even more lamely resolved. It depended on Lori being especially dull and unobservant for it to stretch the length of the book, and since she wasn't dull or unobservant in any other aspect of her life in the book, it just didn't wash. Every point in the book where it was time to check back in with the mystery of her father's accident and the parcel of land, it was almost invariably a forehead slapper. That's just not fun.I really wanted to give it four stars, but hating a subplot like that takes its toll. I'd still call it an enjoyable book, though. Totally still want to read the next one.