by Veronica Wilde, contemporary (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.75, ISBN 1-59578-308-3
The heroine of Veronica Wilde' A Much Younger Man, Kristen Tilden, is 33. Her handsome ex-husband Hal ended their eleven-year marriage a year ago when he decided to marry Victoria, a woman who's actually older than Kristen and comes with pots and pots of money, even more than dermatologist Hal's own pots of money, on the account of a pretty lucrative previous marriage to an old coot. Still, these characters manage to coexist in the same space amicably. Kristen and Hal have joint custody of their son Sean - Hal and Victoria get to have Sean spend the summer with them every year - and Hal had been most generous when it came to the divorce settlement.
That summer, when Victoria invites Kristen to Sean's birthday bash that she and Hal are throwing for that kid, Kristen knows that the first shot, however subtle, has been fired by Victoria. Kristen can't let that woman upstage her now, can she? She will go to the party, according to her friend Julia, with a hot date and in a hot dress. However, Kristen ends up unwittingly discovering the best way to become the talk of the party - by coming this close to having sex with Victoria's son from her previous marriage, the twenty-two year old Dylan Stafford, while his parents are throwing a party just outside his bedroom. I have nothing to say other than, "You go, girlfriend!"
To be a honest, I'm a little bit disappointed when I realize Kristen's age because I'm sort of hoping that she'll be in her forties or maybe fifties. Hey, when you have a book with a title such as A Much Younger Man, why not make him a much younger man, right? I'm not so disappointed by the first encounter between Kristen and Dylan though. They didn't go all the way but I find myself really taking a shine to that Dylan despite myself - he's such a naughty little fratboy begging for a hard spanking type of fellow, heh - and yes, that scene is pretty hot for words.
I like that Kristen has a pretty grounded background - her first boyfriend bragged to everyone in school after he'd slept with her and her second lover was her ex-husband Hal, so while Kristen is understandably hesitant about getting involved with another man, she's not some crazy woman with insane ideas about sex and life. She eventually gets involved with Dylan but she's convinced that this is only some kind of summer fling when the kid is out of college, so nobody can accuse her of being a nitwit. Not wise, perhaps, but not a twit in denial. I especially love how Kristen refuses to apologize for her thing with Dylan when it inevitably comes out into the open and I want to clap my hands when she tells off her ex-husband and his new wife real good when they confront her.
I'm not entirely convinced at the end that this is love we're talking about but I have to say, Dylan has just the right mix of arrogant cockiness and unexpected moments of tenderness that... well, I hate to say this because it'll make me sound like those depraved housewives that lust after their poolboys, but I'll probably be even easier than Kristen if I'm in her shoes. But unlike her, I don't think I will believe him when he says he's in love.
A Much Younger Man is a fun read. I can't vouch for the romance being real or heartwarming, but I find it a much more enjoyable kind of vicarious escape than I would expect. Does this make me some kind of Desperate Housewife? If so, I'll have everyone know that I have first dips on the lawnboy.
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