Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TBR Challenge Review: Nick All Night

Nick All Night
Cheryl St. John
Contemporary Romance
Harlequin/June 1, 2002

From the back cover ~

He Was Worth Staying Up For...

Boy-next-door Nick Sinclair had grown up into a hunk extraordinaire - that was Ryanne Whitaker's first shock on reencountering her sexy, single-dad neighbor. The second was that she was facing this broad-shouldered Mr. Gorgeous across the barrel of a gun!

Turned out Nick was Iowa hometown and had mistaken Ryanne for an intruder... but meeting him again like that had certainly unsettled her settling in...

Ryanne had planned her stay in town to be temporary. But that was before Nick kissed her! Was it time for Ryanne to trade in the bright lights of the big city for the warm glow of hearth and home?

This one has been on the TBR pile for a while. When I first starting reading Cheryl St. John, I began searching out her back list, concentrating mainly on her historicals but did manage to snag a few contemporaries, this being one of them. Nick All Night has two of the romance tropes that I love. The friends-to-lovers and the coming-home, where home is a small town. St. John combined these to make one very satisfying romance.

Ryanne left the small town of Elmwood, Iowa for the big city and never looked back. Until her ex leaves her in a financial mess and she has no where else to go but home. She moves back into her childhood home even though her mom now lives in Arizona and her father is off with his new family. Ryanne is trying to keep her finances quiet and initially tells everyone she's on vacation. This is a little hard for sexy neighbor Nick to believe, who would vacation in Iowa in the summer? But he doesn't push - I liked that about Nick. Ryanne thinks of this as a temporary situation while she looks for a job, likely in another big city. Anything between her and Nick can not be serious. She also refuses any help, insisting on doing everything herself. She is trying to be so strong and independent but I do wish she had realized that asking for help is not always a sign of weakness.

Nick is a great guy. Really. He takes care of everyone. He's the town sheriff and he knows his citizens well, helping them to the point of opening his home to them. Plus his son and father live with him and he would do anything for them. So who takes care of Nick? That's what Ryanne begins to wonder. Nick decides to take on all of this responsibility as a way to atone for one wrong decision made when he was younger. I did get the sense that Nick enjoyed taking care of people but it was also what he was use to and it was hard for him to stop. I do wish Nick hadn't been so perfect, even his insomnia worked to his advantage making him available for late night police calls and long drives with Ryanne.

The fact that Ryanne and Nick grew up together and have a history only helped strengthen the closeness they feel as adults. It was not an easy transition from friends to lovers in the psychological sense. Neither one thought they wanted the same thing with Nick firmly planted in the small town and Ryanne planning to move on. The physical part of their new relationship was easy, except for the sneaking around. It is a small town after all. :) Eventually they have to decide what they really want. I liked how both helped each other see different perspectives and the options they had. Nick could follow his dream and Ryanne could find everything she ever wanted in a small town.

The romance also had some help from Nick's son and his father. Both of whom loved Ryanne and want her to stick around. Ryanne had a few scenes with old friends but the story focused more on her and Nick which worked for the shorter format. Overall, a sweet romance with the hero learning he doesn't always have to be heroic and the heroine learning that you can find love in a small town.

Rating: B+


  1. One of these days I really need to do a reread of this one. I read it YEARS ago and remember really liking it. Probably around a B or B+ for me at the time......

  2. LOL, much better choice of TBR book, right Les? Sigh, I need to read Ms St. John LOL.

  3. Great review, Leslie. I haven't read a contemporary by St. John yet. I love the tropes used on this one. :)

  4. Wendy ~ I love her historicals and now her contemps too. All around wonderful author.

    Nath ~ Yes! LOL Much better than last months. Next month could be the month I finally start Meljean Brook's series. :)

    Hils ~ After reading this, I know I'll be reading more of her contemporaries.

  5. Ohhhh yes!!! Go for Meljean Brook!!! I looooved Demon Angel :)