Turn it On (Turner Twins #1)

Turn it On: Turner Twins 1By Vivian Arend

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: January 19, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Author

Pushing the sensual limits can set off all kinds of alarms…

Inheriting her grandmother’s home is a dream come true for web designer Maxine Turner. She’s looking forward to a little freedom from the constant demands of her beloved, crazy mob of a family. When vandals expose just how vulnerable she is living alone, she seeks help.

Ryan Claymore’s well-thought-out life was wrenched out from under him when responsibility for his special-needs stepbrother landed on his shoulders. Going from military man to business man hasn’t been easy. He counts himself lucky he’s found Maxine to trade his security-system knowledge for her website expertise. The red-hot chemistry that sizzles between them comes from out of the blue, and they both fight a losing battle to resist. Even the secret Ryan hides isn’t enough to keep Maxine from working her way into his heart-and his bed. But something else might tear them apart. Whoever seems determined to destroy her home, and her sanity along with it.

Warning: Realistic multiple orgasm sex scenes, men getting in touch with their emotions, brothers being-well-brothers, and a very tempting back-porch swing…you have been warned.

Goodreads Summary

Although both books completely stand alone, in the series timeline, this story technically comes after Turn it Up (Turner Twins #2), which was released earlier this month and is Maxine’s brother Max Junior’s story.  They really don’t have to be read in order and you don’t necessarily have to read both, but I promise the whole experience is greatly enhanced if you do.  The Turner family is terrific and since Max Junior and his wife Tasha appear here a little bit, their story will make sense and have some meaning if you do.  Plus, it’s truly an awesome story – have Kleenex on hand.

Maxine “Max” Turner decided she needed a security system installed in her huge family home when vandals broke in and the new client for her brother’s company and her web design services is an expert in the field.  Forget sparks – what was a flicker when they first met turned into fireworks by the time she and Ryan finished going over the security needs at her house later.  Neither one plays any games – they start dating immediately, knowing starting an affair is going to happen soon.  Their relationship is complicated by her huge family intruding (something similar happens in Turn it Up – it’s funny), his responsibility to his handicapped brother and the ongoing vandalism at her house.

This isn’t a story with a really intricate suspense plot or one with a huge, dark and evil secret (like a dead wife!) that you know will threaten to tear the couple apart.  This is mostly a story about the happy developing relationship between Max and Ryan and the smaller, irritating and sometimes sad stuff that keeps happening to them that they have to deal with to keep themselves together.  I really found the resolution to the vandalism issue a little annoying.  Not because the plot itself was poorly done, but because I just thought it would be something more interesting.  There’s a little flip from Turn it Up – Tasha was twelve years older than Max Junior there and here, Ryan is roughly the same amount older than Max.

I’m going to digress for a minute here.  I’ve said that Lauren Dane is one of my favorite authors when it comes to writing women and Arend is one of my favorites when it comes to writing men.  They’re not all the same – the ages, personalities and ah, bedroom activities, are all different, but they all have a certain something in common that’s harder to pin down.  They always have good hearts, are decent men who treat people with respect and who not only know when they’re messing up, but admit it pretty quickly and do something about it.  I’m not any kind of writer, so I don’t know what it takes to do all of that, I just know that when I pick up one of Arend’s books, I’m not going to get an asshole alpha hero who’ll deliberately say something nasty to the heroine to get her to go away for her own good or who’ll ever be less than a decent guy when he gets sexually involved with her.

Back to this story.  I think my pockets are getting full of the guys I want to keep from the last several Arend books I’ve read now that I’ve added Ryan to them.  He was a bundle of everything interesting – contrasted with Max’s innocence, his experience everywhere was exciting, from picking places to eat, to the bedroom.  His grief over his brother’s accident and even his frustration about whether there’d be any sort of place for him in a life with Max really emphasized how much more mature he was than her (not sure if that was the idea, but it took me there).  He tended to go a little overly-alpha on Max about the vandalism thing, but then she was a little too ditzy about it, so I balanced out the points there.

Since I read Turn it Up first, I already knew Max was ultra-sheltered by her enormous family and had also been treated pretty badly by her stinker of an ex-boyfriend.  How badly was revealed eventually when she and Ryan were together and it was just achingly sad.  The way she eventually bloomed around him was sweet and I liked that she kept a little of her sort of gawky innocence even to the end of the story.  Max is one of those people that everyone in the family takes advantage of – last minute babysitter, bringing an extra casserole to the party – you know the one.  While she wants to stop her family always dropping in on her, she’s a natural nurturer and this causes one bit of miscommunication between her and Ryan and a brief, nearly head-bangingly stupid moment.  Her stubborn and sort of wide-eyed idiocy on the vandalism issue gave her a few more moments, but thankfully there were only a few of them.

I always seem to leave the sexy moment commentary to the end (sort of like dessert!).  Ryan, being the alpha god that he is, brings it.  He has to take it slow with Max because she’s been really messed up by the moron she dated before him, but it makes for some painfully hot scenes.  I personally can’t believe I’m saying this, but I had one complaint – I sort of felt like Ryan was holding back.  I have no idea why, but I thought he might get a little more..dirty.  How..dirty of me.

My Summary: I’m a little bummed that Arend didn’t manage to dig up a hidden Turner triplet somewhere, I liked this duo of books so much.  Ryan and Max’s relationship is sexy and complicated and full of family issues that made it fun to read.  I wish it had been given a longer format (it was category rather than novel) because I think there were things that were rushed at the end and I’d have loved another chapter or two to see how a couple of issues worked out for Max and Ryan.

My Rating: B+

Barbara

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