For a change of pace from my paranormals, historicals and sci-fis, now and then I’ll pick up a contemporary romance that is almost solely about the romance. In this case, I found the story doubly appealing because the focus was set amongst the heroine’s down to earth family. I enjoy a good cozy romance and this did the trick.
The story revolves around thirty-something career woman, Melanie Gordon. She just got the promoted and given a big chance in her firm that will take her back to her home town of Cleveland. Returning home is a divided joy for her, but she still wants to celebrate her promotion so she asks her friend whom she has a crush on, Raine Mason, to go out with her. Raine surprises her by making his move after two years showing he’s interested in her. Why did he wait so long she wonders?
After a fabulous three weeks with Raine, Melanie rips herself away and heads out to Cleveland. There is no time to dwell on what could have been as she sets up the firm’s Cleveland office and gets things going, adjusts to settling in with her family and just tries to figure things out. As things setttle, she realizes that she can’t get Raine out of her mind and those friendly phone chats and texts aren’t enough, but what can she do?
Melanie’s mom is after her to marry and keeping her own secret, Melanie’s sister’s life isn’t as perfect as she thought and she feels remorse that she hasn’t been there for Mimi, and her adopted sister has really made some changes and found a good man. Life gets really complicated when the once love of her life who cheated on her and dumped her for another woman, Jaxton, tries to make his way back into her life. Right about then, Raine makes the proposal that they attempt a long distance relationship and she agrees though she has reservations. Surprisingly, the relationship seems to be working until Raine’s secret comes out and it might be too much for Melanie to handle.
As noted, the plot on this one is all about Melanie’s romance and life. Its told entirely from her perspective. The plot was well paced for a quiet and mostly character-driven story. The pace of the romance development was believable and well-written. The office politics, family life stuff and Melanie’s hero were all wonderful and enjoyable.
Unfortunately, I do have a ‘but’. I couldn’t stand Melanie for most of the book. Now this is just me and others might be okay with her. It might have been less impactive on me if I could have gotten away from her for a little while, but she’s the main focus of the book. To be fair, she needs to grow and she does to a certain extent, but its not until nearly the end that she has her epiphany moment about herself which by then I was nearly out of patience with her. My problem is that for the most part I found her selfish, judgmental and self-centered so that even when she had normal human reactions to things I had to work to cut her some slack. It all stems from how desperately trying to please a father all her life even five years after he died has twisted her into who she is. Everyone knows she has issues except her. She couldn’t be more blind and it was hard reading from her perspective. She was unintentionally cruel to her family by shutting them out of her life and then she pops back in accusing everyone of keeping stuff from her. Also, she really never cut Raine slack even when the guy is practically bleeding after a huge confession to her. Maybe because the author made me fall in love with her hero, Rain, is why I couldn’t like Melanie. He’s a beautiful man and melds perfectly with Melanie and her family, but that’s not good enough for her. Raine’s a survivor and an inspiration to those who get a second chance to make good.
Okay, enough on that. There was so much that was rich and good in this story that I can say that it was an enjoyable read with a satisfying ending. Those who enjoy spicy Contemporary Romance should give this one a try.