by Veronica Wilde, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.75, ISBN 978-1-59578-434-6
Is 19 considered That Dangerous Age to you? Because the hero is 19 while the heroine is 29 going on 30. The age gap isn't that big to be noteworthy, but the hero's age probably is to some people out there. I personally can't imagine marrying any 19-year old kid, to be honest. Sleeping with one because he's cute, oh yes, that I can believe, but marrying one? I don't know. But after reading this story, I can't help thinking that the world will be a better place if we can head on down to the local pound and adopt one of these guys.
There are some thematic similarities to the author's previous book for Liquid Silver Books, A Much Younger Man, but I find this one a better read especially when it comes to characterization.
Whitney Van Haren's sister Carolyn was recently hospitalized and Whitney was surprised to learn shortly after that Carolyn is suffering from clinical depression. Deciding that Carolyn will do well to take a break from taking care of Carolyn's two kids (Carolyn is pretty much a single mother as her constantly traveling businessman husband Paul is home only on weekends), Whitney decides to fly down to the luxurious private community of Fairfax Beach at Cape Cod to babysit the kids.
Whitney isn't above indulging in a fun fling while she's there, especially with that hot Liam Dashwood, the lifeguard and the swimming instructor to Carolyn's kids. The thing is, she thinks that he's 25. He's lying. By the time Whitney realizes that the kid she's in love with isn't even old enough to drink, will Whitney ground Liam for life and take away his car keys or will she keep getting busy with him?
This story glosses over several problems that may arise in the long run, especially with Whitney being an art professor and, given how conservative the academia can be, her relationship with Liam can very well affect her standing with her peers. That is, if other people don't give her weird looks already. But since we are talking about a romance story here, naturally the happy couple will live happily ever after so perhaps it is to be expected that these issues don't come up.
The characters are actually very well-drawn though, therefore this story does offer more than some quick titillation of a story featuring a young stud. I love how Ms Wilde takes the effort to define the relationship between Carolyn and Whitney, especially. Come to think of it, the relationship between the sisters feels more real than the relationship between Liam and Whitney here. But I don't mind - a part of me can't help thinking that it's probably hard to present a realistic love story between a 19-year old kid and an older woman that doesn't involve lots and lots of hot sex.
Yes, I'm such an ageist, I know, because I have this lamentable tendency to view 19-year old hot boys as sex objects rather than respectable husband material. But enough about me, let's talk about the hot boy, shall we?
Liam is way too good to be true. He lost his virginity only a year or so before he met Whitney but already he is sending her flying to the next galaxy and back several times before the story is over. And it's not like he is trained by a sex guru, mind you, he's just a natural. He is also romantic without being too corny in the process and he also seems to be more mature than most 19-year old college brats. I know, insert your own "he learned quickly that sleeping with professors is much more rewarding in more ways than one" joke here. Still, I have to admit it - Liam is quite an appealing fellow here. Besides, he's from a loaded family, which also doesn't hurt, of course.
Do I believe in the romance? I don't. But do I care? Not really. This story is pretty hot and the main characters - the women, anyway - are well-drawn for a novella-length story. In other words, this is a most enjoyable story to spend an hour or two escaping into.
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