A Fine Romance
The book blurbs talks about how it takes less than 30 seconds to form an impression. Ironically, it probably took about that amount of time for me to decide that the both the hero and heroine were childish and immature. Of course I gave them a second chance, and even a third, but I never warmed up to them, no matter how I tried.
On the surface, 29-year-old Mira Parrish seems to have had an idyllic childhood, if you just look at her passport stamps. But she long ago tired of her parents’ hedonistic lifestyle. After graduate school, she discovered her niche. To her parents’ dismay, she fell in love with retail management. She is thrilled when her best friend Ivy beseeches her to come to Chicago, and bring Ivy’s concept of a romance store to life.
Mira has had some bad luck in her career lately – one store closed due to a blizzard, one store closed because their clientele lost all their money in a Ponzi scheme, and then the last store closed due to hurricane storm damage – so she is grateful for this fourth chance, and desperate to prove her competency. If she believed in portents, then she might be spooked, since her arrival in the Windy City has been anything but smooth. First she is left cooling her heels in the airport for over an hour after arriving, then after finally giving up on the promised ride, she decides to make her own way on the El to Ivy’s former apartment when the skies open up, pouring down a monsoon. The day is almost resuscitated after Daphne Lovell, her new roommate, fixes her a Dark and Stormy drink. But then Sam Lyons shows up and gives a candy ass reason for blowing off picking her up at the airport. Even though she finds him “off the chart sexy” with his awesome pecs and is having a terrible time suppressing the urge to “trail her fingers over the tuff of dark hair peeking out from the collar of his white T-shirt,” she gives into her ire and dumps her drink on top of his head.
Thirty-one-year-old Sam Lyons is determine to honor his father’s deathbed wish to take care of his mother. He meant to keep his promise to pick up Mira, but that commitment was superseded by his concern for his mother. After his father’s death, his mother started breaking down in public, crying inconsolably, unable to function. One time she even stopped her car in the middle of the road during rush hour until the police showed up. Now it seems like he is living his life in a heightened alert state, trying to head off his mother’s setbacks.
The next meeting between Sam and Mira is just as problematic. She thinks he is a burglar in her new store, and wallops his head with a crystal flower vase, causing him to bleed profusely. Even though blood is gushing from his head, she can’t quite keep her mind on his wound. Fantasies of touching him, and then licking every inch of his cinnamon sugar tan, bombard her mind. Still this encounter doesn’t advance the bonds of friendship. Their animosity is well and alive, along with their sexual awareness of each other.
But Ivy is determined that her two friends overcome their negative first impression. She cajoles Sam into showing Mira the city. And Sam’s best friends, Ben and Gib, soften Mira up by explaining the circumstances surrounding the death of Sam’s father and the reason he is so protective of his mother.
Their first date starts out rocky but ends wonderful. Looks like Sam and Mira are on the same page. But it is not all hearts and flowers as they progress from sexual attraction to something deeper.
I found the setup of Sam and Mira’s meeting very contrived. Part of the reason is Mira’s yo-yo emotions. She thinks Sam is too sexy for words, but he is also an asshat. The whole “cute meet” reminded me of the old romance novels from the 1980’s and 1990’s, with the whole “I hate you hate you hate you, but oh I can’t resist you” premise. Then you add into the picture the fact that both have the maturity of two-year-olds. The least Sam could have done was inform Ivy and Daphne that he couldn’t pick up Mira. Or he could have done the chivalrous thing and ordered a car or taxi for her. I am not sure why Mira thought it perfectly acceptable to pour a drink over a person she just met. Not only does it say volumes about her poor impulse control, but how did she know that he wouldn’t haul off and slap her? I hate it when women take advantage of most men’s code of conduct.
The second meeting with the head bashing had me rolling my eyes. Maybe there are people out there that could have sex on the mind when the object of their desire is bleeding profusely from a head wound that they inflicted, but not me. Again this whole set up was forced and artificial.
Sam didn’t make it to his father’s bedside after his heart surgery because of being stranded at the airport, so I am a little confused about the deathbed request. It is mentioned that Sam’s father keeps calling for Sam. So if his father can talk, I have to assume that the deathbed request was made over the telephone. If so, why didn’t they say how much they loved each other then? Of course, if it was written this way then Sam wouldn’t be carrying his bucket load of guilt.
There must be an audience out there for these types of scenarios because when I was looking for new audio books, I saw that this book is being released in that format too. Still, this book didn’t work for me.