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The Guy Next Door: Ready, Set, Jett\Gail's Gone Wild\Just One Taste (Hqn) Mass Market Paperback – February 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Spring flings are the theme of this sexy escapist anthology from romance stars Foster (Bewitched), Donovan (Ain't Too Proud to Beg), and Dahl (Talk Me Down). In Foster's "Ready, Set, Jett," teacher Natalie Alexander is enjoying a no-strings affair with her private investigator neighbor, Jett Sutter, until Jett decides he wants more from their relationship. Professor Gail Chapman takes her teen daughter to Key West and falls for author Jesse Batista in Donovan's "Gail's Gone Wild." Dahl pairs up straight-laced brewery owner Eric Donovan with Beth Cantrell, manager of an erotic boutique, in "Just One Taste." Donovan's easy, breezy story best captures the sun-toasted, sand-crusted feel of a traditional spring break, while Foster's is much more serious and Dahl's mostly feels like a tease for her forthcoming novel. (Mar.)
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Hands on his hips, impatience growing, Jett Sutter paced the length of his living room while his youngest sister, Betts, blathered on about God-knew-what. She'd been at his door when he arrived home, throwing off his intricate plans and putting a damper on his fevered expectations.

Never would he deliberately hurt his sister's feelings, but pretending interest had become impossible half an hour ago. A glance at his wristwatch showed that he needed to shower. He needed to…prep. When he thought of what he had planned, what he would do and with whom, his breath quickened and his muscles twitched.

It wasn't an unfamiliar reaction when dealing with his supersexy neighbor, Natalie Alexander.

Jett loved his family, he really did, but damn it, he needed privacy to deal with the blooming heat and anticipation of the next few hours. He needed…

The familiar sound of a Volkswagen Bug pulling into the apartment complex parking lot cut short his thoughts. Without caring what his sister would think, Jett took two long strides to the patio doors and parted the curtains just enough to look out.

And there she was: delectable Natalie Alexander.

Superstacked school teacher. Seduction personified. Enchanting enigma.

His lover.

Damn, she looked hot. Natalie was his most elaborate fantasy in the flesh, made up of scorching contradictions.

Long, corkscrew curls the color of dark honey danced around her face as she hurried from the minuscule cherry-red car with a bag of groceries in one arm, her requisite heavy book bag in the other, her enormous purse slung over her shoulder.

As usual when returning from work, she wore her school-teacher duds of a long dark skirt, flat shoes and a crisp blouse under a warm cardigan. For Jett, it looked like fetish wear—a modest ensemble to disguise the centerfold body.

Seldom had Natalie mentioned teaching, and that was mostly before they'd become intimate. Since then, she'd gone out of her way to keep all conversation to a minimum.

It really burned his ass the way she fought to keep him at a distance.

Not that her evasive attitude had done her any good. He knew what grade level she taught, that she enjoyed reading political dramas and true-crime novels, that she cried over commercials and laughed at birds when they visited the bird feeder off her balcony.

He also recognized the vulnerability she tried to camouflage with sexual bravado—at least, with him. Thinking of her utilizing that special brand of bravado with any other guy bothered him in ways he didn't want to analyze too closely.

He knew that Natalie came from a background of extreme wealth and social influence, but the money and prestige hadn't guaranteed her a warm, loving family.

Though Natalie had no inkling of his research, he'd uncovered quite a bit about her, personal and otherwise. If she did know, she probably wouldn't like it.

Too bad.

At first he'd investigated her out of suspicion, because she'd come on so strong and had been so accommodatingly easy. As the quintessential school teacher, absolutely nothing about Natalie's outward persona said "uncommitted sex." Yet that's what they had.

Wild, hot, no-boundaries sex that left him burned and wanting more. A lot more.

Later, he'd done more digging because damn it, he wasn't used to any woman wanting only uncommitted sex with him. It didn't make sense. Natalie never asked him anything personal, never wanted to go out to eat or to a movie. She rebuked gifts and compliments and disdained social settings of any kind.

All she wanted was him, in bed.

That should have been the perfect setup for a man intent on maintaining his bachelor status, but for whatever reason, Jett felt uneasy about it. He wanted her to want more, damn it.

Why didn't she?

Now, as she exited her car, Jett watched her and knew by the way his muscles twitched and his skin burned that he was getting in too deep. Natalie had the most profound effect on him.

Confusion, he told himself. Curiosity and intrigue. Nothing more.

Once he knew why she'd built so many walls, he'd be able to scale them. They'd both have a good time for as long as it lasted, and neither of them would have regrets.

And with that goal in mind, Jett had a plan.

Using her hip, Natalie bumped the car door shut and, because of the brisk wind, hurried for the entrance. In late March, the weather was milder but still pretty chilly.

Along the way to the apartment entrance, she glanced up at his window.

Jett made sure she couldn't see him; God only knew what she'd think if she caught him watching for her. He'd look like a dupe, like a lovesick fool when, despite their burning compatibility between the sheets, she'd made it clear that she didn't want anything more.

Sex. For her it was the beginning and the end of their relationship. With every other woman he knew, he'd find that arrangement perfect.

With Natalie Hell no.

Tonight, he had a plan to use her carnal nature against her. He'd keep her long enough to hash out a few things.

Thinking about his intent made him semierect and taut with urgency. He visualized her in his bed, stretched out, anxious for him—

"All right," Betts said from behind his right shoulder. "Give. Who is she?"

Oh shit. How had he forgotten all about his sister's presence?

Jett turned in what he hoped to be a nonchalant way. "A neighbor, that's all." With Natalie now home, his patience ended. He took Betts's arm, swiped up her jacket off the back of a chair and steered her toward the door. "The visit's been awesome, but I need to shower."

Laughing, Betts dug in her heels. "Get real, brother. I'm not budging an inch until you tell me every single juicy detail."

At twenty-six, nine years his junior, his sister wasn't old enough and, he prayed, wasn't experienced enough to hear everything that had gone on between Natalie and him. Never mind that Betts was only a year younger than Natalie.

"Not happening, Betts, so forget it." Knowing his sister, he added, "And don't you dare go blabbing to the folks, either." The last thing he wanted was his mother snooping around in his private life. His dad would shrug it off; his mother, like his sisters, would make him nuts with questions.

Being thirty-five and independent in every way didn't matter, not to his nosy family. He was the only son, with three younger sisters. For years he'd felt protective toward them all, and now they were determined to pay him back in kind.

Somehow, he got Betts halfway to the door.

"If you're seeing someone, I'd like to meet her."

Annoyed, he turned to stare at his youngest sister.


"Why not?"

Because he wasn't seeing Natalie, not in the traditional way Betts meant. They hadn't had a single real date. The sum total of their time together had been spent either in bed or getting to the bed. Occasionally in the foyer against the wall, once on the couch, once over the back of the couch—

"Jett? Yoo-hoo."

"You're not meeting her, so forget it." Even if he wanted to introduce her to his family, Natalie stayed around only until the lovemaking ended. Then she hightailed it right back out of his life.

Hell, outside of sex talk, they'd barely even conversed. Jett told her what he wanted to do to her, with her, and Natalie always gave enthusiastic agreement. Period.

She'd made it abundantly clear that he was good only for sex.

Actually, she'd said he was great for sex; she hadn't skimped on the compliments in that department. But she usually gave them while naked, draped over his chest, still breathing hard and rosy from a recent screaming climax.

Somehow, he had to work their combustible chemistry to his advantage so that Natalie would let him past her barriers.

"You look flushed, Jett." Arms crossed, Betts surveyed him through narrowed eyes. "What's wrong with you?"

Mood now soured, Jett said, "None of your business, so butt out." He wasn't about to explain to his youngest sis the scorching level of churning lust and…and whatever else it was that he felt.

Hell, how could he explain it to her when he didn't quite understand it himself?

Her foot tapped the carpet. "Jett."

Struggling for patience, he gave her a tight hug and then held her an arm's length away. Dead serious, eyes narrowed and expression somber, he said, "If you love me, Betts, you will, just this once, let it go." She hesitated, and he waited, staring her down.

With a huff, she gave up. "Fine." Betts pulled free of his hold to don her jacket, jamming her arms into the sleeves with more force than necessary. "But it's only because I do love you."

Thanking her with great sincerity, he opened the door for her to go. Across the hall, Natalie's door remained closed.

Betts kissed his cheek and back-stepped out, watching him with expectation the entire way. Keeping a straight face with effort, Jett waited until he saw her go through the glass doors at the complex's entrance and until she reached her car.

Heading back inside, he stripped off his clothes along the way. In his bedroom, he turned down the blankets, leaving them at the foot of the bed. Determined on his course, he knelt near the head of the bed in the center of the mattress and wove a long specialized restraint through the headboard slats. A sliding "noose" at each end would be perfect for capturing Natalie's delicate wrists.

His abdomen clenched and his breathing hitched; he tugged experimentally and decided it would serve the purpose.

He glanced at the footboard, considered putting the restraints there too—but no. On a purely carnal level, he loved the idea of seeing Natalie tied spread-eagle to his bed, but he didn't want to push her so much that she felt compelled to object.

Now sporting full wood, Jett went to the shower. He had completed only the most cursory bathing when his attuned ears heard Natalie's familiar knock at his door.

Drawing a deep breath and shutting off...


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Product Details

  • Series: Hqn
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; a edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373775563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373775569
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer Aus on February 17, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Why the low rating? Because the only word that comes to mind when I think of this book is UNFINISHED.

Grrr. I expected to get three stories with happy endings, not two setting up future books, leaving the situations unresolved! I couldn't care less which authors are setting up what series; if you sell a book, the reader has to expect to finish it and be satisfied they've read something that can stand up on its own. The middle story was mediocre and I didn't care for the characters, but it was the only one that was complete. Lori Foster's well-written entry ended on a massive cliffhanger. Victoria Dahl's pointless, plot-less story ended and the heroine didn't even know the hero's name.

If you want to give fans a prequel to a book, put it up as a freebie on your website like Roxanne St. Claire did - don't expect people to pay for something that's unfinished! Patricia Briggs started her Alpha and Omega series with an entry in an anthology. Not only was it brilliantly-written, but it held up on its own. It is clearly possible to achieve.

Ready, Set, Jett - Lori Foster

You know, I liked this up until the abrupt and incomplete ending. Natalie and Jett are neighbours and have been having a very casual relationship. Only Jett wants more, and he has to figure out a way to convince Natalie he's worth having. Natalie is heading off for a holiday on her own, but snow and ice change her plans rather a lot.
The big (and unanswered) question is, where's Natalie's sister? I can't tell you because I have to pay for another book to find out.

Minus the missing sister, I didn't think this was a bad story. In fact, I liked both main characters, and this is an author who can write steamy scenes really well without losing the emotion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dina on March 4, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ugh, what a nightmare! This was one of the "strangest" anthologies I've ever read. The first story ends with a cliffhanger, the second has some of the most idiotic characters I've met, and the third makes no sense at all.

Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster (3 stars)
This story is a prequel to LF's new series, Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor. Jett Sutter and Natalie Alexander are "neighbors with benefits". Their no-strings affair should be the perfect setup for a man intent on maintaining his bachelor status, but for whatever reason, Jett feels uneasy about it. He doesn't want to marry Natalie, of course, but having her using him only for booty calls isn't enough anymore. He wants to see her outside the bedroom, even date her, but he knows someone has hurt her in the past and she's wary of getting emotionally involved with him. Will he be able to get past her barriers and, maybe, reach her heart?

I liked this story, but the cliffhanger wasn't necessary. In fact, all the events connected to it could have been left out of the story, as they added nothing to the development of Jett and Natalie's relationship and were only there to hook readers to the upcoming series. It had been a while since I last read a book by Ms. Foster and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing and how good her love scenes are. She made me care and root for Jett and Natalie's HEA, and the ending was satisfying enough. (In case you're wondering, Jett and Natalie do get their HEA; the cliffhanger has nothing to do with them.)

Gail's Gone Wild by Susan Donovan (1 star)
Gail Chapman's seventeen-year-old daughter Holly wants to go to Florida with her friend Hannah for spring break, but Gail knows better than to let the two girls take that trip alone.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rock N. CA on March 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Gail's Gone Wild" was a sweet, light story with an interesting couple. The other two stories were just teasers for something more...and left me really upset that I'd bought this unfulfilling fluff. Really disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By akb--bookworm VINE VOICE on March 5, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE GUY NEXT DOOR is a collection of 3 short romantic stories all about the "guy next door." You know, the guy just across the hallway in your apartment complex, or the guy in the next cabana on vacation, or the guy who works just around the corner from your own place of work. I picked this book out solely for the name of Victoria Dahl. I've only read one of her short stories in Midnight Kiss: Midnight Confessions\Midnight Surrender\Midnight Assignment. Her story was the only one I truly enjoyed out of that trilogy, so I thought I'd give her another try.

I haven't always been a fan of short stories nor have I been a big fan of anthologies. I'm starting to understand the benefit of being able to sample a few different authors before spending larger amounts of money on them. However, THE GUY NEXT DOOR played right into what I dislike MOST about anthologies. I want a complete story, not a prologue to a new series saying "if you want to find out what happens buy my new series because you just spent money on the first few chapters but not the whole story. Sucks to be you." Okay, to be fair, only 2 of the 3 stories do this, but that's still 2 out of 3 stories!

Now, the stories themselves weren't 2 Star quality, but I'm giving this anthology 2 Stars because it's frustrating to get a book of "short stories" only to find out that they aren't that! They are prologues! Agh!

***Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster (150 pages)--2 Stars
More than just lovers
Prelude to
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