If I had to give someone a copy of what I considered to be the perfect romance novel, I would hand her a copy of Amy Andrews The Devil and the Deep. It is a friends to lovers category romance that has emotional and sexual tension! Rick and Stella are the children of ocean salvage workers and spent most of their childhood growing up together playing on boats and waters dreaming of sunken treasure. Rick grows up to inherit Stella's dads business, and Stella grows up to be an acclaimed romance novelist. When we meet Rick and Stella as adults, Stella is suffering from writer's block and Rick wants her help to fulfill her father's long held dream of uncovering a Spanish pirate's sunken boat. Believing that being on the open seas with her friend, muse and fantasy fodder will unlock her imagination, Stella agrees. This is where the fun begins!
The book flows along nicely. The sexual tension builds steadily without frustrating the reader. You're drawn into their passion and their concerns about taking their relationship to the next level. The best part of this book is that Stella and Rick acknowledge each other's concerns like modern day adults. In some romance novels, hesitance of the hero and the heroine to be come lovers weighs the story down and can create annoying, whiny or sometimes just plain dumb characters. There is enough tension, however, to hold you in suspense until the HEA comes. The book is sexy without being smutty but it isn't coy either.
I'm an incredibly slow reader, so I really need a book that grips me and makes me want to finish it. In the two Amy Andrews books that I've read, she can do that. She might become the first romance author for whom I create a standing order.