Extreme Bachelor, the second in Julia London’s Thrillseekers Anonymous series, features Michael Raney, a former CIA operative who has joined some friends in a unique business venture. Thrillseekers Anonymous (T.A.) is made up of four partners who are all into extreme sports – mountain climbing, parachuting, and anything else that can be considered to be even remotely dangerous and exciting. The group also works on movies as stunt coordinators. Michael and his pals are supervising the stunt work and training for War of the Soccer Moms, an action flick with lots of actresses, all of whom are lusting after the men of T.A.
Leah Klein, a former girlfriend of Michael’s, has a small part in the movie. Five years ago, Michael broke her heart and disappeared to Switzerland. He actually left her because of his CIA job, but Leah never knew about his secret life. Their breakup left her so despondent that she lost her big chance for a great acting job. When he shows up on the set of the movie that could make her a star, not only does she not believe his cockamamie story, but she’s afraid that letting him get close to her will derail her career again. Too bad she’s still attracted to him, and he’s still as charming as ever.
As with all Julia London books, Extreme Bachelor is funny and touching and passionate, but too drawn-out. The number of misunderstandings that keep Leah and Michael apart are numerous and start to feel contrived when the exciting climax is still a few chapters away from the end of the book, but the two of them have yet to kiss and make up. Just when you think they have resolved their problems, poof! Another rears its ugly head and drives them apart again. The result is a book that is longer than it needs to be.
Because of Leah and Michael’s past relationship, there is a lot of time spent remembering the old times and not enough spent on the present. More emphasis on the current state of their relationship, along with some character and relationship growth, would have been more entertaining. The reminiscing made it difficult to believe that they would end up together when neither had changed all that much in the time that they were apart – if it didn’t work before, why would it work the second time around?
The second installment in the series is entertaining and well-written, and will keep readers eagerly awaiting the third book. The passion between Michael and Leah is enough to scorch fingers as they eagerly turn the pages. While this is a series and the four partners of T.A. are in each book, reading them in order doesn’t appear to be necessary thus far. Both Wedding Survivor and Extreme Bachelor do a good job of standing alone, but the promise of future books is present in each.