Under the Covers
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Pages: 87
Goes Well With: Meat and potatoes and a cold [root] beer

In a small town, everyone knows everybody else’s business—which means that it’s pretty tough to keep secrets from the neighbors. In Under the Covers, a short e-romance by Jo Barrett, a pair of small-town neighbors agree to a steamy secret—one that proves to be hard to keep.

Jane Walters is the new girl in town. After spending most of her life wandering from place to place with her father, she’s ready to settle down and start her own business—and from the first time she drove through the small town of Kings Gap, she knew she’d found her home. As she gets everything in order at her new quilt shop, though, she finds herself avoiding the unwanted advances of her new landlord, Riley.

While searching for an excuse to keep Riley away, Jane falls into another kind of arrangement with handsome general store owner Jacob Hayes—a top-secret, no-strings kind of arrangement. Jacob is still nursing old wounds—and he has no intention of opening them up again. But as he continues in his no-strings relationship with Jane, he begins to realize that he might just want a few strings.

Even if the book’s title doesn’t tip you off, it doesn’t take long to discover the focus of Under the Covers. After a brief, perfunctory introduction, the characters dive headfirst into a wildly passionate affair in the general store’s storeroom. Despite the fact that Jane is new in town—and opening a new business—her days in Kings Gap get much less attention than her nights. And while the subject matter may not make this the best lunch-break read, if you’re looking for a steamier read, you’ll find just what you’re looking for here.

If, however, you’re looking for interesting characters and a well-developed story, you’ll be disappointed. For the most part, the characters are flat and stereotypical: Riley is the sleazy playboy, Jacob is the heartbroken tough guy, and Jane is the mysterious new girl. And when the characters do get a little more attention, they seem even less appealing. For instance, Jacob insists—repeatedly—that he’ll never get involved with another woman because of one bad relationship that left him emotionally scarred and made him the topic of town gossip. Instead of making him seem like a sweet, sensitive character, though, it makes him sound weak and pathetic, as if he’s been actively obsessing about his heartbreak for years.

Though the small-town setting offers a charming backdrop, there’s not much to Under the Covers beyond what happens under the covers (or, in this case, on a sleeping bag in the general store). The story is predictable, and the characters are generally uninteresting. So unless you’re simply looking for some small-town storeroom action (with just a hint of romance), you might want to look elsewhere for your next lunch-time e-book read.

Ed. Note: For more on Under the Covers, visit The Wild Rose Press.

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