Just One of the Guys

Kristan Higgins
August 2008, Contemporary Romance
HQN, $4.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373772998

Grade: C+
Sensuality: Subtle

There are two reviews of this book

Just One of the Guys has a unique, appealing heroine. For the most part, this was a fun read. If it weren't for a few incidents late in the book, I would have assigned it a much higher grade.

Chastity O'Neil has been in love with Trevor Meade since she was a little girl and befriended him after the death of his young sister. Ignored by his parents, Trevor became a fifth son to the large O'Neil family. Though Chastity and Trevor had a brief affair when she was a freshman in college, he's treated her like a sister ever since.

Chastity moves back to her small hometown to take a job as an editor at the local newspaper. Though she longs for a relationship with Trevor, she's realistic and, since she wants a family, she takes active steps to reach that goal. She signs up for an online dating service, attends a singles' shopping night at the local grocery store, and puts the word out to her friends and family. Then, Chastity inadvertently meets gorgeous doctor Ryan Darling.

Ryan and Trevor are complete opposites. Ryan is a successful, wealthy doctor from an upscale family who seems to share few interests with Chastity. Trevor is a firefighter who works under the supervision of Chastity's father; together they share a love of sports, their small town, and the O'Neil family.

I thoroughly enjoyed Chastity, who is bright and hard-working. She describes herself as looking like a teamster; she's nearly six feet tall, has broad shoulders, and is physically fit. She also lives a full life. In addition to family dinners, and meeting up with her brothers at a local bar, she baby-sits for assorted nieces and nephews. Chastity is a huge sports fan and an athlete, and competes in marathons, rows every morning, and walks her dog. We also get to see Chastity at work. As if that weren't enough, she's taking an EMT class.

I liked the author's descriptions of Chastity's home town. Various scenes are described so vividly, that I felt as if I was right there and, rather than taking away from the plot, it helps reinforce why Chastity wanted to move back to her home town.

This book won't appeal to readers who want their heroine and hero to be together the entire book. This didn't bother me at first, but after a while I became impatient and wanted the romance resolved. Even so, though, until I was about three-quarters of the way finished, I intended to assign a higher grade. Then, late in the book, something happens that I can't describe in detail, but Trevor behaves in a way I really didn't like, and I think other readers might have the same reaction. My grade then tumbled.

This was a hard book for me to grade. It would be an A/A- for the heroine, and the author's voice. However, the problematic plot points involving Trevor bring things much closer to a C-/D+, so, ultimately, I have to give a C+ to the book. That being said, I enjoyed the heroine, and the author's voice so much, that I will check out her backlist.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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