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Natural Blond Instincts Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 2003
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Despite her blond bombshell looks and family hotel dynasty, Kenna Mallory worked hard to get herself through college on her own dime after giving up her family's money to live life on her own terms. The last thing she wanted to do was step back into the ultraconservative family fold and take on the position of co-VP of her father's newest acquisition, but for the first time in her life, her father has asked her to accept the position for six months, not commanded. As the first and probably only chance Kenna will get to add a little personal color to her family's dour palette while finally gaining a little respect for her abilities, the offer is too good to pass up. She's even willing to put up with the sure-to-be-grim Mr. Weston Roth, a man with whom she will share position and power.
Wes is seriously put out and more than annoyed that the pampered princess daughter of the owner is being foisted off on him. He's been dedicated to the Mallory hotel chain for years and has worked his butt off to get to the position of VP for one of the new crown jewels, and the last thing he wants to do is vie for promotion with an airhead goddess flitting around on Daddy's dime. His first impression is quickly dashed, though, when Wes realizes that there is a keen brain and a dedicated workhorse behind the gorgeous face and colorful clothes, and Kenna's ideas for the hotel are both employee- and company-friendly as well as financially sound. Not to mention there's just something about her that gets Wes focused on all sorts of possible mergers and acquisitions.
What starts out in tense acrimony and false impression quickly grows into mutual respect and heated admiration, and a yearning beyond anything either Kenna or Wes expected.
I enjoy the light, fun romances of Jill Shalvis. She has a pleasant writing style that combines humor and romance, touches on serious themes to differing degrees, and provides solid entertainment. Natural Blond Instincts was no different. I thoroughly enjoyed Kenna's character, and appreciated that Shalvis stayed away from cliche and skirted stereotype with her blond bombshell, and didn't overly belabor her character's skill and financial acumen. It kept Kenna from being a joke. Yet there was just enough in Wes' reaction to her to touch on the very real stereotypes of money and beauty in corporate industry without being overdone.
There was a nice balance in the plot between Kenna's work at the hotel and the search for her joy, but I wish we'd seen a little more from Wes' point of view beyond his attraction to Kenna. He was slightly more one-note than I've seen in other Shalvis protagonists, and we didn't see much of him outside the job. I did appreciate that the arc of the romance didn't get bogged down in an overabundance of melodrama, however, and aspects of the journey to HEA were charming and endearing.
This was a shorter-length novel, and there were aspects of the plot and the flow of the story that were hampered by that shorter length, but it was a fun romance with many feel-good moments. It also provides readers unfamiliar with Shalvis' books a pleasant representation of her style and talent.
Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.
While the story is cute, it is rather short, thus being pretty undeveloped and resolved a little too quickly. But in Shalvis' capable hands, what could have been mundane and cliched is actually a well written but average story.
The formula to the story was solid, the characters were not overly bogged down with their pasts, and the sexual tension between Kenna and Wes was just right. These two had their reasons for why they were who they were and did not "jump into the sack" by the third chapter. While the focus was a bit more on the tension between Kenna and her world, as well as Wes with his strive to have control... this story held up pretty darn well and was done in a day.
With that being said and not offering any spoilers... this light read earned a solid 4 stars. It was light on the humor, light on emotion, but filled with the right amount of character interaction.
Wes assumes that Kenna is a dumb blond who got her current position due to nepotism. On the other hand Kenna is a bit shocked that Wes is not an ancient know-it-all baby boomer, but instead is a hunk her age. Neither wants to share responsibility or the position. However, Wes reconsiders his first assessment of Kenna as she works hard, pulls her weight and more, and provides intelligent assessments and decisions. Likewise Kenna realizes that Wes is a sharp, hard working individual who carries more than his load. As they work closely together they fall in love, but each ignores the attraction that grows with every admiring moment together.
NATURAL BLOND INSTINCTS is an amusing contemporary romance. Though the tale is based on dumb blond jokes and doesn't avoid stereotyping. it clearly pays homage to the two recent legal movies. The story line is cleverly written though Wes' reactions to his attraction to Kenna, who he knows is beautiful and smart, seem off kilter. Still fans will appreciate this solid humorous story that pokes fun at pigeonholing individuals based on a physical trait.