Published: July 8th, 2014
I Want Crazy (Loco, Texas #2)
By: Codi Gary
Books With Benefits Press
Alfred "Red" Calhoun is in a rut so big, he doesn't know how to climb out of it. After his second best-selling romance novel, Red signed a contract for three more books, but now he's having trouble finding his romantic mojo. To top it all off, his favorite bar has been bought by a woman who wants to close it down and re-vamp it. With his favorite place gone, Red is looking for a distraction...just not the kind that the bar-ruining Jessie Dale has to offer, no matter how hot she may look in a pair of paint-covered overalls...
Jessie has been running away since she was a kid and now that she's decided to make a place in Loco, Texas, she'll be damned if she's going to let a pain in the rear cowboy with too blue eyes run her out of town. As Red and Jessie go toe to toe in an epic battle of wills, Jessie finds it hard to stay mad when Red's kisses make her want to forget her trust issues...and take him home for a test drive.
But when Jessie's pissed-off ex comes to town to make trouble, Red finds himself playing a hero in his own life and can't seem to stay away from her. But will he be able to handle all the crazy baggage Jessie's been hauling around, or will these two miss out on the greatest adventure of all...falling in love?
I was drawn to this book initially by the synopsis, which sounded really adorable. Add in the cover and I was taken in hook, line, and sinker! I normally don't bother just because I love a cover either, it has to be really tempting for me to give in and request it! I am so glad that I got the chance to read this book. I absolutely loved it and found it to be completely adorable, with the best kind of sassy humor and banter between the romantic leads. I've rarely seen a book that has the male character as a romance novelist (while being a straight man), using his own name and not a pen-name, and also he lives in the South. It had the possibility to be interesting and Gary succeeded with her character for sure. Red's completely awkward handling of his overtures toward Jessie was hilarious to watch. The botched attempt at night fishing, the cow tipping and the unthinking foot-in-mouth sexist remarks. But Red has an absolute heart of gold, as we see from his interactions with Jessie while helping her out, his scenes with his Mom and the times he holds his tongue and pretends to be happy for his best friend Jake, who won out their mutual best friend Miranda's love over Red himself. He refuses to hold it against them though. Also, his cat Orange is mean little bastard (as some cats are) and he obviously loves him in spite of/because of his orneriness.
This book is about Red Calhoun and Jessie Dale. Red happens to be a romance novelist, with a bad case of writer's block. Jessie is the interloper from out of town, who has bought Red's favorite bar and closed it down for renovations. Their first meeting consists of him yelling at her and Jessie calling the cops on him. So they really don't like each other all that much first. Then Red saves Jessie from the worst part of a bar fight (though she holds her own, hitting someone with a chair), which leads to a friendship of mutual snarkiness and banter. Before they know it, Red's helping Jessie renovate the bar and sparks are flying between them. But Jessie's perverted ex-boyfriend, who made sex tapes of her without her permission (and of other women he was cheating with), is released on parole and comes after her looking for the restitution money he paid out to her unwillingly. Can Red and Jessie protect their new relationship and can he keep her from danger? Or will it be too late by the time Will's finished with her?
The side characters in this book are fully fleshed out people, even Jessie's family (i.e. Dad, Stepmother and stepsisters) who she doesn't really get along with. I loved Red's sisters and his Mom, they were totally bad-ass bitches in charge! Also, Miranda "Rand" and Jake seemed like very good friends to Red, refusing to let the awkwardness of the previous romantic entanglements ruin their friendships with him. I think one of my favorite characters (outside of Red of course) was Ray, the cook at Jessie's bar. He seemed like a really great guy, who had caught a tough break for doing what he thought was the right thing. I hope to see more of him if there's another book in this series. April the librarian, also new to town, would be another good candidate for main character in another book. I was really interested in her back-story, as she's running from her past like Jessie was in the beginning of the book. Red was a great character, full of contradictions as a romantic and a good ol' southern boy. Loyal to the end, hotter than hell and a great friend - a deep-seated romantic. Jessie was snarky, sassy and extremely vulnerable. Her slow burn with Red was a beautiful thing to watch. The night fishing scene with them was one of the most hilarious/sweet moments I've ever read in a romance novel! All in all, I wasn't surprised by the ending but the journey was so wonderful that didn't matter at all. A few grammar and spelling errors here and there, to be expected in an ARC and nothing glaringly bad. Also, once again, that cover is perfect! The cover models like just like Red and Jessie and the pose sounds like the one on the front of Red's first book (plus they look so happy)! So cute! I highly recommend this adorable book to anyone that wants crazy and likes small-town romance.
VERDICT: 4.5/5 Stars
*I received this book from Books With Benefits Press, on NetGalley. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book was published July 8th, 2014.**