Romances focusing on older adults are rare in today’s market, so I was delighted when I learned Rochelle Aler’s Room Service features a hero and heroine in their forties. This is book three of a trio about more mature heroines, but you don’t have to read the first two books to enjoy this one.
Jobless but by no means destitute, Jasmine Washington can afford to take some time to decide what she plans to do next. A dedicated New Yorker, she doesn’t really want to leave the city she loves, but an opportunity – in the form of co-managing the new luxury inn her friend is about to open in New Orleans – is calling her south. She has plans to use another friend’s wedding in the area as an excuse to hang out in the Big Easy, enjoy the fine food, culture and music and see if she really wants to make a change. Then she gets the phone call.
Cameron Singleton had met Jasmine at a friend’s reception the previous year and hasn’t been able to get her out of his mind. In New York for a reunion with some college friends, he gives her a call to see if she’s willing to meet with him. She is. They have dinner, then follow-up with a lunch at her aunt’s inn. He’s amazed at how quickly he’s falling for her; she’s amazed she’s dating at all after the devastation her ex made of her heart. Realistically, though, how much of a future can they have if Jasmine decides to stay in New York when Cameron returns to New Orleans?
This is a sweet story which offers a long, slow look at taking a second chance on love. Cameron and Jasmine are both cautious daters because their experiences of romance and marriage haven’t been great. Cameron’s parents had an extremely volatile relationship and he has avoided long term entanglements for four decades as a result. Jasmine’s parents had a great relationship and she had been a firm believer in marriage until her ex-husband broke her heart. It wasn’t just that he cheated but all the circumstances surrounding the cheating that have left her cautious of forming another permanent relationship. The fact that Cameron understands her hurts and fears makes it easier on Jasmine to see a future with him. They are both anxious to get this relationship right, to fully understand each other before committing and to leave any risk-taking they do to other portions of their life.
The author’s detailed, languid style of writing is perfect for this particular couple. The tale concentrates on how well suited Jasmine and Cameron are and how they speak to each other’s concerns regarding commitment. Emphasis is put on how they fit into each other’s diverse circle of friends and family. Jasmine, the daughter of a Filipino mother and African-American father, has family everywhere and needs someone who belongs in her cosmopolitan lifestyle, which Cameron definitely does. Cameron is a wealthy man who comes from a rich family and appreciates that Jasmine’s sophistication enables her to move in his world with ease. One of the nicest aspects of having the story be about two established adults was the absolute financial security both had. They could discuss a long-term relationship involving plane travel or keeping homes in two locations because they could easily afford it.
There is not a lot of action here, but Room Service does a great job showing two people trying to live their best lives and deciding they are better together than apart. It’s perfect for beach or pool side when you are looking more for entertainment than adventure.