Guest Review: One Night in Santiago by Audra North

Posted February 20, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors)

One night in santiagoJen’s review of One Night in Santiago by Audra North

Lily Stanton’s vacation goes from bad to worse when a storm strands her in a foreign country, arguing with an arrogant—and very sexy—stranger over the last available hotel room.

Successful CEO Bruno Komarov wasn’t expecting the gorgeous woman checking in at the reception desk to challenge him over a room. Even more surprising, he actually enjoys their exchange.

But when Lily proposes a compromise—she’ll take the bed and he can sleep on the couch—Bruno pushes his attraction aside and assures himself that this can remain strictly business. After all, they’re both adults capable of keeping their hands to themselves. They’ll share the room, get a good night’s sleep, and be off to their respective destinations in the morning.

What could possibly happen in just one night?

I normally don’t read a lot of short stories or novellas, as I prefer the character and plot development you can usually only get in a longer book. I’ve had good luck with some shorter-form stories recently, though, and I was looking for something to read during a small pocket of time, so I decided to check out One Night in Santiago. Unfortunately, it suffered from the problems that usually keep me away from short stories and ultimately left me a bit unsatisfied.

Lily Stanton is a business consultant stranded in Santiago, Chile when a storm cancels her flight. She arrives at a hotel at the same time as another stranded traveler, vineyard CEO Bruno Komarov, and the two have a small battle of wills to see who will get the very last room. Eventually Bruno concedes to Lily, but she feels guilty and offers to let him stay in the large suite with her. Both are determined to stay aloof despite their intense attraction to each other, but of course we all know how well that will work out!

Obviously the set up to this story is ludicrous. Why a single woman in a foreign country would offer to share her room with a total stranger, even a hot one, is beyond reason. You just have to ignore that premise! One reason I decided to give this book a chance was the exotic setting, but it plays no role in the story at all, which was disappointing. It could have taken place literally anywhere, since almost entire story happens in the hotel room. My real problem with the book, though, was that there just wasn’t enough development of Lily and Bruno’s relationship. I can buy a one night stand romance–people sometimes do rash, impulsive things that end up working out in the end–but I want to see that there is something unusual between them right from the start. Bruno and Lily do have one decent conversation over dinner, where we see more about who they are as people and why they might compliment each other. That was great and I felt like I was starting to see a connection develop. The problem was, there’s really just that one conversation. They jump right into bed, and there are no more chances for them to get to know each other emotionally.

I don’t think it had to be this way, even given the shorter format. The book spends tons of time inside Lily and Bruno’s heads as they ponder how super hot the other one is. There is so much time spent on the sparks, the instant attraction, the ogling, the “his/her ass is so amazing,” etc, that there wasn’t word space for more connection. Yes, we get it, they were instantly attracted. Now let’s hear how they also unexpectedly had a deeper connection, one that made it more than just sex. It’s just barely 7pm when they get to the room, and they don’t leave again until the next morning. There was plenty of time for more conversation, even with a few rounds of sex!

Fortunately, the story ended with more of a HFN than a HEA, which would have just been ridiculous. I still kept feeling like there either needed to be more time spent on genuine conversation OR the story needed to be longer, perhaps having the couple separate and then reconnect back in the States. I really did like the characters and I wanted to see more of them come together emotionally, not just physically.

Grade: 2 out of 5

This book is available from Entangled Publishing. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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