“Come Away With Me” – Book One in With Me In Seattle series

Since I’ve enjoyed some of the later books in the With Me In Seattle series, I decided to go back and start at the beginning. “Come Away With Me” introduces photographer Natalie Conner and Hollywood heartthrob Luke Williams.

They meet accidentally on a Puget Sound beach. Natalie is taking advantage of the early morning light and photographing whatever catches her keen eye; sailboats, the sun on the water, etc. when a man accosts her and tries to take her camera, claiming she was surreptitiously photographing him. She doesn’t know who he is and thinks he’s a mugger. A drop-dead gorgeous mugger but still……  Not being a fan of current movies she has no idea who he is or why she should want to take his picture. Yes, he’s beautiful but even so, Natalie is not a portrait photographer. She takes candids which she sells to tourist shops around the beach. This guy isn’t merely rude, he’s a menace, only backing off when she threatens to call the police.

Luke calms down when he realizes Natalie isn’t a member of the paparazzi and doesn’t know who he is. There is a powerful mutual attraction and a classic case of insta-lust. But even as strong as their connection is, can it withstand Luke’s desire for anonymity? And how long can he keep his identity a secret from the woman he wants in his bed? What will happen when she eventually finds out?

It’s difficult for me to make comparisons between the first and last in the series so I will try to confine my remarks to this introduction.

If sex counts as romance then “Come Away With Me” has it covered and then some. And yes, the sex is explicit, if somewhat tedious in its repetition. The characters are a mixed lot. Luke and Natalie are besotted with each other and the dialogue reflects it. Luke has pet names aplenty for Natalie but his favorite is “baby” which, in my opinion is unimaginative. She, on the other hand, continually makes reference to his blonde hair and electric-blue eyes, his sexy grin and dynamic smile. Over and over and over. Natalie gushes over Luke while simultaneously tearing herself down. Despite her poor self-image, Luke adores her curvy figure as well as her sassy mouth.

The plot centers around Luke’s extravagant lifestyle and his attempts to woo Natalie but shouldn’t have been dependent on the sexual content. That said, if the bedroom scenes were deleted, there would be scant material to even classify it as a novella. I have nothing against explicit sex scenes in a romance novel as long as it’s not gratuitous, and this definitely leans in that direction. In fact I look forward to sexy love scenes when they’re well written. However, when every other page is devoted to sex, the sizzle gets lost in the mind-numbing repetition, making the quantity and sameness merely a bore.

“Come Away With Me” is Kristen Proby’s introduction to her With Me In Seattle series and now I’m glad I didn’t start with Book one. Proby has grown immensely as a writer, as her more recent books attest. Three and a half stars.

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