This is a tricky review to write, because it’s been a few weeks since I read the book, and already I’m finding it hard to remember the characters and plot. However, it does closely resemble (by way of homage rather than copy) a book I last read twenty years ago, but pretty much remember every detail – Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
In this modern-day version, our heroine, Candace, is a costume designer in Hollywood. She is the beard, i.e., the female disguise, for he-man Hollywood icon Thomas Shane, who is secretly gay. We have to believe that Thomas’s coming out would be the end of his career. I find it hard to buy into that, because these days, nah. Once, in the days of Rock Hudson, that was true, but if we discovered that someone like, say, Robert Downey, Jr. is gay, would that stop us flocking to the next Iron Man movie? Probably not.
But it is near enough for me to just about suspend disbelief so I could enjoy the story. Candace (Constance, geddit?) goes away for a while to nurse her sick grandfather. She meets Oliver (not Mellors, but McKean) who is a gardener (gamekeeper) and they start a rampant affair.
Their meet cute is well done when he walks into her grandfather’s kitchen and she starts throwing stuff at him because she thinks he’s an intruder. I enjoyed that scene, and after that was content to let Kelly lead me through her world. Candace lies to Oliver, because of her gay “fiancé,” so, not understandably, when he discovers the truth, he’s a bit miffed.
The sexual balance between the two is well done, with first her coming on to him and then him on to her. They love each other’s company, but there is an appalling typo in this book that should really have been sorted out.
“When he licked at her again, working her clit with his tongue and his lips—lathing, then sucking.”
In case you missed it, “laving” is an old English word for “washing” which a lot of writers like to use in sex scenes. “Lathing” is working something like a piece of wood on a lathe, shaving bits off it.
Once seen, never forgotten!
There is a plot problem, too, that I think should have been spotted by someone. Candace’s engagement to Thomas is, we are led to believe, hot news. All the paparazzi and media are on it, and yet Oliver doesn’t know? This isn’t “new” news, either. So why doesn’t Oliver know, especially since he is close to Candace’s grandfather?
And he doesn’t recognize her at first? Doesn’t grandfather have pictures? I really find it hard to believe in all those coincidences, but such is the excellence of Kelly’s writing style that I made it through to the end. Sometimes working an old story into a new interpretation carries a multitude of problems, and in this one not all of them make it through.
Oh, and one tiny thing that might be me. In these romance books, including this one, there are a lot of heroines who wear bras with front clasps. Where I live, you can’t get one of those from regular stores. Just can’t. I even checked yesterday when I went shopping. You can get them from stores for the disabled or by ordering specially or so the assistant told me, but in general most women don’t want them. It might be different where you live. Just wondering?
Waking Up to You: A new sizzling Forbidden Fantasy story
Hollywood costume designer Candace Reid would do anything for her gay best friend—even marry him! But before giving up on sex for a while, she needs that last fling. Only, when her injured grandfather asks for her help with his struggling Napa vineyard, her plan for Nooky Time is completely kiboshed….
Then she meets the mouthwateringly hot new groundskeeper, Oliver McKean, and it’s a case of instant lust. And damned if Oliver doesn’t seem as hungry as she is….
Before long, Candace is gettin’ naughty with the hired help. But her secret is bound to come out eventually. And when it does, she’ll have to choose between a promise to her dearest friend…and the man whose body she can’t live without.
Reader favorite Overexposed: When a bad girl hooks up with a bad boy, you know the sex is going to be wicked!
Read an excerpt.