Thursday, June 7, 2018

Book Review: 'GENT' by Harloe Rae

Minnesota author Harloe Rae writes romance stories. Her books to date are REDIFINING US, FORGET YOU NOT, WATCH ME FOLLOW and now GENT: An Enemies to Lovers Romance.

Harloe follows that fine tradition of providing a Prologue for this story – an aperitif to seduce us into her tale – ‘Raven – Am I crazy? As I cross the Stockton county line, my heart leaps into my throat. I’m not typically nervous, but this is big. Huge, really. Life changing and all that. Moving clear across the state seems extreme, right? It totally is, but this is happening. Tonight. I’ve never visited this city before, but in a few hours, it will be my home. Talk about taking a chance. I’m worrying myself into an ulcer, and for no reason. Delilah wouldn’t steer me wrong, or offer false promises, yet doubt continues to plague me. What if everyone hates me? Or Delilah decides I suck at baking? What if I make a fool of myself? This is the type of impulsive decision I was subjected to growing up. My mother made one hasty choice after another, dragging me along for the bumpy ride. The thought stops me cold. Oh, Lord. Am I acting like her? The idea makes me sick to my stomach, and I reject it immediately. She’d never live in a small town, unless there was a damn good reason. Like meeting her next Mr. Right Now. I shudder thinking of her current flavor of the month. They’re overseas living in a gorgeous villa off the Mediterranean. He’s twice her age with a bank account busting at the seams. My mother swears up and down his money isn’t the reason she loves him. Too bad I don’t believe her. Restless energy courses through my veins as I fiddle with the radio. I wish that audiobook had been a bit longer. It was a stellar distraction from the chaos buzzing through me. Getting lost in a sappy romance gives everything a rosy hue. Once they all lived happily ever after, the panic of my situation filtered in. Living in the pages of a love story would be far easier. My eyes quickly land on the gift from Delilah. The bright pink apron lays spread across the front seat, like a constant presence reminding me of what’s ahead. Master Baker is embroidered across the front. It makes me laugh each time, and this moment isn’t different. As my giggle dies off, the view from my windshield looks brighter than ever. I change the station and a slow country tune fills the speakers, calming my racing pulse. This sounds like sweet haven, which is exactly what I need to hear. I’m digging in and grabbing the happy place buried in my soul. This is my choice. I’m controlling my future. Confidence replaces the doubt as my foot presses harder on the accelerator. I’ll finally be planting roots. Everything will go perfectly. Yeah, I’ve got to stop overthinking this because the time is now. My hands twist on the steering wheel, and I exhale slowly. I’ve been waiting for this my entire life. I’m ready. My headlights flash across a sign welcoming me to Garden Grove, and giddy nerves attack my gut. Their slogan feels like arms wrapping me in a warm hug. I smile and repeat the words silently. Where everyone belongs. That sounds just right, like Goldilocks. Ready or not Garden Grove, here I come.’ And so we know Raven and her strong attitude.

The story is presented well in the synopsis (a back and forth commentary) without giving the ending away – ‘Raven Elliot blasts into town like a wrecking ball—striking and devastating. With a few simple words, my reliable routine crumbles to dust. “Is this seat taken?” I could close my eyes and let her voice wrap around me like a lover’s caress. But this isn’t that type of story. And I’m sure not that kind of man. She hovers in my space, batting her lashes and smiling shyly. The glimmer in her sapphire eyes is a promise of peace. But I’m not falling for it. And Raven doesn't take the hint. What starts as a battle of wills, explodes into a turf war. She stands directly in my path everywhere I turn. No matter how hard I shove, she won’t budge. Raven seems dead set on driving me insane. But I was here first. And I’m not going down easy. After all, no one ever taught me how to treat a lady.’

Strong Chick Lit style that seems to assure the reader that Harlow is here to stay. Grady Harp, June 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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