Melt

MeltBy Natalie Anderson

Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher

When two frozen hearts collide…

Emma Reed closed her heart to love years ago after a lifetime spent getting kicked around foster homes and bad relationships. Now she’s on a mission to prove she deserves her recent award to paint a mural for a research base in Antarctica. Nothing and no one is going to get in her way.

After months working in recovery zones around the world, Hunter Wilson planned to escape everything this holiday season by rebuilding a lab at the Kiwi Research Base. Alone. No to family, no to fun. It’s isolation not intimacy he’s aching for. But when he sees the determined artist, that ache becomes an urge – after all, shouldn’t someone show her what two people can do with twenty-four hours of brilliant sunlight?

In the coldest place on earth, even the most frozen hearts can melt.

Goodreads Summary

I haven’t read that many adult contemporary romance titles over the last year after an unbroken string of not good put me off for the most part. I’ve read a title here and there from familiar authors that I trust but it’s been hard to seek out anything. When I saw Melt, it caught my interest for a couple of reasons – Natalie Anderson’s always been one of my favorite authors from the Harlequin Presents line and I have some affection for those “trapped in remote locations” storylines. Happily, this ended up being a winner for me and is totally recommend-worthy.

Quiet, hardworking Emma Reed is stunned and slightly intimidated to be the recipient of a grant to paint a mural at a remote base in Antarctica. Her resolve that her very short trip will be all business and no play is tested before she even makes it to the base when she meets Hunter Wilson, a charming American who’s a constant distraction. Hunter teases Emma with flirty innuendos, thrills her with tours outside and around the base so she can see the beauty of the landscape and the creatures that live there and takes her breath away when he makes it clear he wants more than friendship from her.

Emma’s been hurt by people who’ve loved and left her before and she’s not willing to go down that road with Hunter. He has his own issues with creating ties that’s the polar opposite of Emma’s. He’s all about the short-term hook-up away from home and then he’s out of the picture for good. In spite of their chemistry, they’re at a stalemate.

Because this is a novella, there isn’t a lot of space to devote to Emma or Hunter’s backstories but the author gave it a good shot through some conversations they had with each other. Emma explained why she had issues with vacation romances, but for some reason, I didn’t really feel any great understanding about why Emma was so gun-shy of relationships still – I felt a little disconnected from her. When Hunter told his story, I really felt his pain about his family’s breakup. His reasons for being Mr. No Commitment made perfect sense to me.

I really just liked Emma and Hunter and that’s likely what made this so enjoyable for me. They both were interesting in their own ways with little bits of their pasts coming out throughout the story. Hunter was funny and sexy without being all over Emma – in spite of some naughty thoughts, he was a nice guy who wasn’t pressuring her every five minutes. Emma was obviously someone who loved deeply – and she had an ereader, some stories that made her blush on it and a zebra cover for it! She’s one of us! Bonus! This was was a sexy enough story to fog my glasses up just a little but it was also very sweet and tender – I definitely would call this a romance.

This may have been mostly a character-driven story, but that’s not to say there wasn’t any plot at all or that nothing else was going on. I especially loved the touches of what life on the base was like, the little nicknames and shorthand that the people there had developed for each other and some of the details of things like the plane ride in and out – which you won’t ever catch me on.

My Summary: When I’m reading a novella, I don’t lower my standards for quality but I do have a slightly different set of expectations. I go into the book knowing there will be some things that will be lost because of the limited space – while I can’t get a full-fledged plot and characters with big backstories, I want a story that engages me and characters I like and want to know more about. When I finish the novella, I want to be able to say that if the book were double in length, I would still want to read it.

Melt met every single one of those expectations – I liked the characters and would have loved to have gotten to know them better, maybe before they met. I’d like more time spent at the base in Antarctica, I loved the idea that they were trapped there and there was potential for exploration and I really, really wanted an epilogue. I wanted more of Emma and Hunter beyond the end of this story which makes this a recommended novella.

My Rating: A

 

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