Review: Four Letter Word by J. Daniels

Reviewed by Joanna

The sunny beach town of hot girls and guys was a nice change from the dull gray days of winter outside my window. But this story of Brian and Sydney is a tale of two halves.

She’s just separated from her seven-year right-out-of-high-school marriage, whilst he’s a guy she accidentally misdials when she’s trying to rant at her friend’s ex. She tells him to get the dildo out of his mouth, and he can’t help laughing at the angry girl on the line.

They fall into easy text conversation, answering crossword clues and gently flirting before moving on to add heat to the mix, despite having never met one another.

Sydney’s moved to live with her friend Tori, also going through a bad breakup, and they work together in a sweet little cafe. Her life’s getting better and better as her divorce papers are prepared and the guy she’s flirting with via her phone is dreamy.

Brian, on the other hand, has growing issues. The girl he calls Wild rapidly becomes the sunshine in his world and he finds himself clinging to that light. He co-owns a surf shop with his buddy but has a pretty grimy sideline. He works in the sex industry as a porn star, fucking women or pleasuring himself live on camera. All to make money for a very specific reason that has something to do with a boy in a wheelchair and a mistake Brian blames himself for.

He doesn’t tell Sydney his surname or anything about him so she can’t find out. Brian is an idiot.

How do you think you’d feel if the guy you really liked had his dick all over the Internet? In and out of all sorts of people and all parts of their bodies?

Not that great, I imagine, particularly if you were thinking of settling down and having kids with them.”Daddy, what’s this video of you…” *Horrified face*

Would you mind if he did it for good reasons? Hmm, I think I’d rather my man robbed a bank to get the cash. Bit too squicky to forgive and forget. And here lies the conflict.

This is a light story, with hot characters and an amusing supporting cast. Brian’s best friend, surfer Jamie, hits on Sydney’s best friend a lot. He calls her Legs. The girls hate him because he’s a whore with no respect for love, and they find ways to punish him. E.g. Tori gets the chef at the cafe to drop Jaime’s meat on the floor for a full five seconds before he cooks it. Sydney takes his orders, but writes down random choices. Once he asked for a coke and got a bucket of clams. This cracked me up.

Then Brian and Sydney were so cute together. And very sexy. You can imagine why he’d be good in that arena.

But the first and second halves of the book were unequally weighted. The first 50% was great and the pace was fine, but it dragged after that. The main conflict was very drawn out, surrounded by scenes that weren’t interesting. The story turned dull and domestic relying on hot sex to top and tail and keep me interest. I drifted.

Example – there was a moving-in scene and one of the side characters disappeared off for a while with her kid to change them or something. Then came back and explained she was sure she’d brought the wipes but they weren’t there. Um, and? This wasn’t pertinent to the plot. No one stole them and she wasn’t sneaking off for another reason. Maybe this was there to give some lines to later-book characters, or perhaps just to pad out the scene. This wasn’t an isolated incident.

Then Tori and Jamie who must be up for the next story had so much screen time with the same issue arising between them over and over, it half-killed my anticipation.

Sydney was cool at first but shifted to melodramatic and cried at everything – tears really don’t come that easily just when someone’s being sweet to you. Brian wasn’t a bad hero, despite the porn idiocy, but had the unfortunate affliction of missing words from his sentences.

“Gone for you fast, Wild… Can’t explain it. Don’t know how it happened…  Best I’d felt in a long time, maybe ever. Didn’t want to risk anything messing that kind of perfection up…”

Lots of authors use this speech pattern for male characters, but not most of the time for most of the things they say. Plus another two characters did it too and it started to grate.

There’s lots to like here, but it’s not perfect. (What is?) I’ll grab on to book two if I like the sound of the blurb, as hopefully this author would’ve ironed out her pacing bugs.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Four Letter Word
by J. Daniels
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Forever

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