I picked this up because the author has a new novel coming out – a spinoff of the 5th Street series, and when I ordered the ARC, she said to go read these first because the guys crop up in her new work. It was free on Amazon, so bonus time for me.
This is the tale of an older woman (28 – ancient cougar), falling for a younger man (20 – baby) whilst not believing it can ever work out because of the age gap. The heroine felt so very old and out of style compared to the trendy kid. Yeah, it made me feel antique.
This is written in the third person remote, and it took me a long time to warm up to the story and the characters. I was at least a third into the book before I started to have any real feeling about who they were and what I wanted to happen between them.
We’ll start with Veronica. She’s suffered through the long illness of her mother and subsequent bereavement and has been depressed and hiding away. She’s put on a ton of weight, and one day her best friend drags her kicking and screaming to the gym to start getting rid of the excess 40+ pounds (over three stone in English money).
At the 5th street gym, which turns out to be mainly for boxers, we meet handsome trainer, Noah. He’s lovely and all rugged and muscly, and he takes the ladies in hand. Veronica’s friend has to give up the training but Roni carried on and pretty soon loses those pesky excess pounds. That was a bit easy for me. She dropped 30 pounds in a few weeks and I can’t think that is healthy. Anyway, it’s the start of the storm season, and the roof at Noah’s home, a garage at his foster family’s house, gives in and he needs a place to stay. Roni’s mother left her a big house so one thing leads to another and they are living together.
Now Roni is very reserved. Like retired spinster reserved. She’s been through a hard time, but no matter how attracted she is to the young, fit boxer, she can’t see him settling down any time soon so she backs away whenever they start getting cozy.
Noah is really into Roni, but he holds back due to all the mixed signals she’s giving off. That’s all well and good, and I like drawn-out coming-together type stories, as the commitment is there whether the hero and heroine act on it or not.
And therein lies a problem. Noah sleeps with someone else whilst in this initial stage. He doesn’t technically do anything wrong, as he and Roni haven’t even kissed, but it’s almost a cardinal rule in my romance book that by this point the hero shouldn’t even notice other women. I was so cross at him I almost didn’t want to read on. What are you doing you big dumb kid?!
But it’s for plot reasons so it’s okay and I liked Noah well enough so got over myself. The story of the growing relationship is slow and sweet, but actually the slowness dragged on me a little. Roni took such a long time coming out of her shell, and Noah was far more patient than reasonable. This was definitely more on the Sweet side of the sexy scale. If you aren’t into the H&H pounding it up from page one, this might well suit you. I have to admit to being frustrated. At 80% the heroine decided to ‘slow things down’ again and I was about ready to beat my head against my Kindle. Plus the Big Deal was a misunderstanding and frustrated me a little.
Overall the story was gentle and it didn’t drag with too much embellishment. Personally I like more bite to my heroine as without it the stakes didn’t feel very high. If they hadn’t got together, Roni would’ve just gone back to her regular life, and though she might miss Noah, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal. There’s my problem with being removed from the characters so far – I just didn’t get into her head enough to feel anything real.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Elizabeth Reyes
Release Date: March 1, 2012