I selected this book because my last few holiday reads have been fairly tame and I wanted something a bit steamier. This sounded perfect.
But from the beginning, the story seemed a bit absurd. Halloween night and Lulu is at a bar with friends when she sees Chaz, a guy she's known since childhood. She's new in town, and the two communicated via email, she used his realtor to find a place. He sees her, smiles and walks over to her. She thinks it's to catch up, as they've not seen each other in years. Midway through the conversation, after they're on the dance floor together, when he introduces himself, she realizes he doesn't recognize her with her mask and hair colored red. Rather than point out his error, she plays along. This part, I could sort of believe, he'd not seen her in a while, she was in costume for Halloween. The two are very attracted to each other, decide to take off to his place and have sex. There are a few stops along the way and then, they get to his place, and find his little sister waiting for him. Lulu disappears while he's talking to his little sister.
The next day, she runs into him again, and this time he realizes who she is, but does not realize she's the woman he was getting all hot and bothered with the night before. That part, I found a little odd. They were quite intimate that night and he doesn't have a clue that this is the same person when he sees her only hours later? He's in search of a gorgeous sexy redhead.
I was about 40% into this book before I realized it was Peanuts fan fiction/erotica. The mention of the kite-eating tree, adults always sounding like "mwah mwah mwah", Chaz having a tattoo of a beagle in memory of the dog he had as a child. Then I started paying attention to the names. Lulu Vandenberg, Chaz Browning, the musician named Schaer (or something like that). Lulu's little brother Lawrence dating Chaz's little sister Sarah. The there are the lesbian neighbors Peggy and Marcia and the African American friend named Frankie. And, of course, Chaz is in search of a mysterious redhead.
I could not take this story seriously after that. In my head the characters became their cartoon selves and it really kind of grossed me out. And maybe it was because of that awareness that the story took on a cartoon-like feel. The author stuck too close to their cartoon characters - Thanksgiving dinner around a ping pong table, Chaz wearing a yellow shirt that made him look like a bumblebee, and then end with the Christmas pageant. To stick so close to their cartoon, childlike characters and throw in explicit sex - and lots of it - felt so very wrong, and not in a good way.
So much for wanting a sexy book. This one didn't work for me at all. I feel a little traumatized after reading this.
I received a copy of this via NetGalley.