Desert Isle Keeper
Flirting with the Beast
In romance novels, the heroine is almost always under thirty. When older women – those over fifty – appear in romance, it’s usually as a secondary character who, if she’s very beautiful and has either a fortune or a heart of gold, might be lucky enough to have a lover of her own. Romance novels where the lead is over fifty are are as rare as Oscar winning rom coms. Flirting with the Beast, by Jane Porter, breaks that mold by featuring lead characters Andi McDermott and Wolf Enders, both of whom are well over fifty and sexy and smart.
Andi McDermott is a widow at fifty-eight – her rather controlling husband Kevin died five years ago. Since he died, she’s found a job she loves and made new, supportive friends but still, something is missing. She’s lonely – she and Kevin never had kids although she is a stepmom to Luke, Kevin’s son whom he had as a teen. As the book begins, Luke has just blown Andi off for an early Christmas dinner Andi put a great deal of effort in preparing. Hurt and uninterested in spending the holidays in the giant house she and Kevin built – his dream home, not hers – she decides to head up to his family’s cabin four hours north on California’s Lake Arrowhead.
Andi is a total babe – her husband was the college stud every girl wanted and since his death she’s dated several men, all of whom have been more interested in her than she is in them. Her marriage was… fine. The lack of children was a huge disappointment for Andi but not for Kevin and, over the decades, their passion and connection faded to a partnership rather than a romance. But while Andi didn’t really love being married to Kevin, she loved being married and would like to find a man with whom she can share her life.
One man Andi is sure is not for her is Wolf Enders, her only neighbor up at the cabin. Wolf is… a lot. He’s big, tattooed, absurdly sexy – Kevin loathed him – and every time Andi makes eye contact with him she suddenly feels as though she’s naked. As soon as she gets to the cabin, she encounters Wolf and it’s as uncomfortable as ever. She decides to avoid him over her stay but when a major snow storm comes in and all of Lake Arrowhead loses power and Wolf has a generator, Andi begins to see Wolf – all of Wolf – very, very differently.
Wolf – let me take a moment to fan myself – is the man of
my many a woman’s dreams. He’s a decorated ex-Marine who now makes a living designing and drafting homes. He married young and is now, and has been for decades, bitterly divorced from his ex-wife with whom he had three sons. All three followed him into some sort of military service – his oldest, Stone, was blown to bits by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Wolf cares deeply for his family but he loves his solitary life on the lake – he’s a man whose past mistakes have made him believe he’s a beast at relationships. He enjoys sex – he loves sex with Andi – but commitment is a hard pass for him. When it’s time for Andi to return to her home in San Juan Capistrano, he tells her their holiday tryst is a one and done.
However, when Wolf’s ex-wife tells him that Stone’s young widow Lindsay is a mess and is endangering her three year old son Charlie, Wolf invites his daughter-in-law and grandson to come and live with him in California… at his house in Andi’s neighborhood. Andi is shocked to run into Wolf at her favorite coffee shop – she had no idea he had a home near her – and despite Wolf’s determination to stay aloof, he and Andi end up back in bed and in each other lives.
Oh, how I love this book.
Andi and Wolf are electric together. Their sex life is hot, inventive, energetic, and integral to their growing feelings for one another. It’s a gift to read about older lovers whose bouts in the sheets rival that of their much younger peers. They each think the other is gorgeous – I especially love that though Andi believes she needs to lose the weight she’s gained since Kevin died, Wolf thinks she’s sexy as sin just as she is. Their conversations are droll and engaging and illuminate how happy they make one another.
Flirting with the Beast deftly explores the complexities of relationships and the growth of love between two emotionally mature characters. Both Wolf and Andi care deeply for Lindsay and Charlie – the latter is one of the better rendered children I’ve read in romance – and that makes their lives together complicated. This is a book about growth, often hard won. The happy endings in this book feel earned in the best way and I loved watching all the characters find the joy they deserve.
Flirting with the Beast is one of the best romances I’ve read in the past year. I’d love it even were the protagonists younger, but to have them be my age, well, that makes this book sublime. It’s a delightful, steamy read that will have you rooting for Andi’s and Wolf’s happily ever after. It gets a DIK from me.
Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.
|Review Date:||January 8, 2023|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance|
|Review Tags:||Modern Love series | older couple | older heroine | seasoned romance | veteran hero | widow|
Adding another recommendation for this book. I had some plot quibbles at the very end but in general, I really, really enjoyed it. As others have noted, I enjoyed the pace at which Andi and Wolf’s relationship unfolded throughout the book. Well done Ms. Porter!
I loved Flirting with the Beast! I loved absolutely everything about it, but especially the mature hero and heroine. As I stated in my comments on your interview thread, I am a 58 year old widow and you’ve given me hope that romance is still possible! I also liked the slow growth from enemies or wary strangers to lovers. It’s a very good lesson that looks can be deceiving and that the sum of what we are is rarely the stereotypical label society wants to slap on us determined by our appearances alone. I liked how you portrayed Andi and her actions after losing her husband. The slow transition from doing what she was used to doing within her marriage to stepping outside and doing what she wanted was a process. It was all very believable, relatable and fun to watch. We can’t forget Wolf – he was fun too. Andi wasn’t the only one who had to take a hard look at her life and decide to make changes. Two imperfect people realizing they were perfect for each other. Thank you!
And hellooooooo cover model.
“fans herself… again”
Thanks for the review, Dabney. I will definitely be checking this out. I am so ready for more books with mature protagonists. And thank you, Jane Porter, for writing for this underserved demographic. May you have great success with this series so publishers sit up and take notice.
Becky, thank you so much, and I have turned in a new proposal for another series–fingers crossed Berkley picks it up. It’s a fun one!
On my TBR pile!
This was a beautiful story. One I will think of long after finishing it. Thank you.
Thank you! Means a lot. xo
Porter has also written many books for Harlequin Presents. She’s not one of my “Queens of angsty heartache” triumverate (Caitlin Crews, Maisey Yates, Jackie Ashenden), but she does write interesting love stories to the HP template. I really enjoyed HIS SHOCK MARRIAGE IN GREECE which features a “curvy” heroine…and a “curvy” cover model. If you like Jane’s style, perhaps she can be a gateway to the (imho) wonderful world of Harlequin Presents.
Thank you Dabney for reading and reviewing Flirting with the Beast. I am delighted you enjoyed it! ❤️
Wow. This sounds like exactly what I want to read. You had me at “58 year old woman”.
I know, right. Just the best.
So glad! If you do read, would love to hear your thoughts!
Yup, deffo. First book reviewed here in a very long time that has sparked real interest.
Well, that’s not great in some ways–I’d love to hear why–but I do hope you enjoy this one. I really did!
Why? Because I don’t read M/M, F/F or M/M/F (or versions thereof), demi-porn, etc. Nor do I read urban fantasy, SF, YA or anything to do with shape-shifting, werewolves and so forth. I also avoid sloppy, carelessly-written Americanised British-set Regencies/Victorians with historical characters spouting modern sensitivities and values. So, Dabney, there hasn’t been a great deal to excite my picky little self lately but this book seems to have real people as the leads, not virginal, silly heroines or credulous 30 year old billionaires (good grief Elon Musk ad infinitum – yuck) but adults past their first bloom living in the real world. Halle-bloody-lujah as is sometimes said here in the UK. It’s next in the queue.
That’s interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Andi’s happiness was so important to me. Would love to know what you think if you get a chance to read BEAST!