After Hours on Milagro Street
A lively story about sex, romance, gentrification, family pride and ghosts, After Hours on Milagro Street is a lot of things, including a fine and quick-witted romance.
Alejandra Torres has returned to Milagro Street with everything she owns strapped to her back and a lot of attitude. She was once voted “the best bitch in bartending” for her work behind the plank in Chicago; now she’s at her grandmother’s bar in Kansas, a little place named Loretta’s, hoping to make a fresh start. That means a make over for the bar in the run up to her grandmother’s incipient retirement and trying to save the bar financially, in spite of the fact that Milagro Street is dying and wilting and has been since she was a kid.
What Alex didn’t foresee is one nebbish Assistant Professor Jeremiah Post, who occupies one of the rooms over the bar and has become a fond member of the Torres family during Alex’s absence over the past year. He loves the bar, likes her family, and doesn’t think Alex’s hotshot ideas for saving Loretta’s are any good. The two are immediately at loggerheads – and immediately have sex in the barroom, minutes after meeting. That definitely doesn’t ease the conflict between them, as Alex is determined to have her way and Jeremiah is determined to preserve the bar as is. To wit: he makes a counteroffer on the bar through the local historical society, which wants to turn the place into a museum. Between the ghosts haunting the building and the menace of Alex’s childhood bully, who wants to reclaim ownership of a building that was once his family’s property, Alex and Jeremiah have their work cut out for them. And now that they have an enemy to unite against, will they get their act together?
Lopez combines spice with memorable characters in After Hours on Milagro Street, which also gives readers a memorable mystery and a solid combination of romance, drama, humor and the supernatural to wallow in. The end result is a cracking, engrossing, romantic story. As always in a Lopez novel, expect family drama, and lots of it.
I loved nerdy, awkward and yet completely confident and comforting Jeremiah right from the start. Alex is confident, smart, aggressive and sometimes immature, but also incredibly cool; properly complex. She’s both dislikeable and likable at alternate times but generally grows better and up. Together, they’re dynamite aflame.
I loved the way Lopez brings this little town in Kansas to life. I was kind of iffy on the ghost story for a chunk of the book – to be honest, the search for a missing will should’ve been enough to keep the mystery side of the plot flowing. Yet I didn’t find it problematic and often enjoyed where Lopez took me.
Even with those quibbles, overall, After Hours on Milagro Street is a delightful story with a steamy romance that kept me turning the pages.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier