Gloria has a very guilty secret. While perusing books of poetry at a used book store, she found a letter stashed away. The raw emotion, the clear distress at losing his love dripped on every careful word and seared her soul. Unable to help herself, Gloria had read the missive over and over to the point of having it memorized. Determined to return it – perhaps the letter’s real recipient might still find it – she is about to slip the paper back into the book of sonnets when a handsome man removed the book from the shelf. Bryan is a professor and one hell of a sexy man. He mightn’t be the writer of the letter, but he’s not one to let a small thing like that ruin the potential for such a wonderful relationship.
Initially I found that Bryan comes across as a bit of an anti-hero. He freely admits that his end goal with any woman is to get her into bed, and it’s not traditional hero behavior to start a relationship with a fundamental lie (that of authorship of the letter Gloria showed him). All that said, I genuinely found Bryan to be a complex and interesting character. While I strongly feel many more traditional romance readers might not warm to him – he doesn’t soften much until about half way through the story – I was drawn by his anti-hero characteristics. There are reasons – good and strong ones – as to why he doesn’t believe in happily ever after endings or the strength and bonds created through a good marriage. These layers made him interesting to me and helped me want to find out why he acts as he did and gave me patience to stick with him when some of his thoughts were less than charitable.
In some ways I found this to be a good-girl-turns-bad-boy-good style of story, but that label doesn’t do it justice. Gloria is older than many normal romance heroines (in her forties) and while Bryan is in his mid-thirties and definitely not some virginal young man, there is that age difference there. But it’s Gloria who in many ways is the innocent. She’s known real love – her dead husband was her soul mate in so many ways and Gloria still views the world through rose coloured glasses. Bryan might have some baggage and not really believe in love, but his feelings for Gloria grow deep and genuine. And I found this a very satisfying story to read and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Bryan twist and turn as he found himself emotionally and romantically growing and changing.
While this wasn’t the most realistic of stories, that normally doesn’t bother me too much. As long as the plotline isn’t outrageous I love reading for the escape. Readers who like their plots more logical and real might find some of the changes Bryan makes difficult to swallow, and other readers might not be able to see past his initial deceptions. The sex scene is sizzling hot and explicit, but there’s no kink or anything I found over the top. Readers who don’t like “bedroom door left open” style scenes might want to skip those parts, but personally I found the scene tastefully written and not added in merely for the sake of having sex. It fit the characters, situation and progression of the story very well to my mind.
I found this a sweet, wonderfully heartwarming story with vibrant characters and complexities in Bryan particularly that I found deeply satisfying to read. I really enjoyed both Gloria and Bryan’s characters and found their proverbial rocky path interesting and romantic. A great book I’ll happily read again.
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