This book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at SeductiveMusings.blogspot.com.
I still find it difficult to believe that Ruthie Knox has only been published since 2012. In that short period of time, she has delivered a series of knock-your-socks-off romances that succeed in making me both laugh and cry, with incredibly personable heroes and heroines who never fall into the trap of being too perfect. When I pick up a Ruthie Knox book, I know I’m going to enjoy a perfectly composed and self-contained story with people I will love. So when she announced her new Camelot series, I was excited at the prospect of getting to read multiple interconnected books from her for the first time. I’m a sucker for a series where you don’t have to read the books in order, but where you can see how the couples in each book interact with each other and grow in their respective relationships.
“Honey, somebody's got to teach you how to misbehave. You’re doing it all wrong.”
How To Misbehave is the first of the Camelot series, and it’s the novella-length story of Amber Clark and Tony Mazzara, two people who were aware of each other’s presence, but only really got to know each other while trapped in an unlit basement during a tornado warning. We’ve seen variations of this trope before - good girl / bad boy couples trapped in dark enclosed spaces - but true to form, Ruthie Knox makes it fresh and new in how she sets up their individual backstories and motivations and how she lets the situation play itself out.
”For years and years, she was as good as she could possibly be, thinking it was going to get her somewhere. Win her a blue ribbon, or true love, or fulfillment. It didn’t.”
Amber Clark is a good girl because that’s what her religion and family expected of her. She was taught that if she did all the right things and none of the wrong things then good things would happen to her. Now at the age of 24, she’s seen that’s not the case and become disillusioned with pretty much everything she was raised to believe. Unfortunately, Amber has lived this way for so long that she doesn’t have the first idea of how to break free and live the life she really wants. Until she meets Tony.
“Tony Mazzara had a dazzling smile. Like a toothpaste commercial dipped in a porn movie.”
Tony Mazzara is trouble. Everybody knows it, or so he believes. Something tragic happened in his past, something horrible which apparently everyone in town but Amber knows about. His brother had to go to prison, but it could have just as well been him instead, and that knowledge keeps him cowed and quiet, especially around Amber. But when the tornado sirens wail and it’s just the two of them in the community center basement, the dark makes them both rethink how they’ve chosen to behave, at least around each other.
“For once in her life, she was going to say whatever she wanted, and damn the consequences.”
For such a short novella, How to Misbehave packs a punch. We get to see what has been holding both Amber and Tony back from taking control of their own happiness and how they work things out so they can try being happy together. It’s sweet but not overly so, and because it is Ruthie Knox, it is also incredibly hot. As the opening story of a new series, How to Misbehave is pitch perfect.
“Don’t go thinking it’s as easy as it sounds, babe. It’s tricky, figuring out how to misbehave properly.”
Sensuality level: 4 (steamy and explicit but not kinky)