Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Laura Leone aka Laura Resnick
Five Star/June 2, 2003
Reissued/Blonde Trifecta/January 31, 2011
* Rita Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance
* Desert Island Keeper, AllAboutRomance.com
* No. 29 on DearAuthor.Com’s list of the Top 100 Romance Novels
Ramblings on Romance was kind enough to share her enjoyment of this unique romance. I'm so glad I listened to her advice and scouted this one out at the used bookstore many years ago. I just wish I had not waited so long to read it!
After thirty-something Sara Diamond experiences professional and financial setbacks, she moves into an eccentric little apartment and works on reviving her career. Before long, she becomes good friends with Ryan Kinsmore, the handsome twenty something man next door, who shares her balcony—and her unreliable utilities.
But Sara’s new neighbor conceals painful secrets and a double life behind his gentle charm and good looks. As their friendship blossoms into love, Sara gradually learns the truth about Ryan, who’s trapped in a world of lies, danger, and sex-for-hire. With his spirit renewed by love, he becomes determined to find a way out of the life he was drawn into as a runaway minor, and equally determined to rescue a street kid whom he finds falling into the same traps that once caught him. But Ryan’s secret life is lived in a ruthless world which won’t easily let him go. Having fallen so far from grace, can he find his way back?
This is certainly something different. Given that it was first published over ten years ago, I doubt there were many novels that could compare at the time. A hero prostitute is not something you come across everyday. Luckily for Sara Diamond (and me) this hero came into our lives.
Sara Diamond has downsized. Sold her condo and moved into an interesting apartment with crooked stairs and an eccentric landlord. The move was not planned but inspired by circumstances which were out of Sara's control. She is now self-employed, attempting to revive her career. The one truly bright spot in her new life is her neighbor, Ryan Kinsmore. He is not only good looking but kind, caring and simply fun to hang out with. Sara is attracted to him but is aware of the age difference, he's 26, she's 35. She thinks there is no way Ryan would ever see her as more than just a friend.
Ryan Kinsmore is exactly what he seems when he is with Sara. But there is much he is hiding and he knows when it eventually comes to light, things will never be the same between him and Sara. The situation is complex, made more so after Ryan and Sara sleep together. Ryan had to know how Sara would react after they made love and he is called into work. Which is why his disappointment towards Sara's reactions surprised me. If he knows women and Sara so well, there's no way he could have expected Sara to react any differently. This isn't casual to her and there is no way to expect her to be okay with him sleep with other women. It doesn't matter if it's only work to Ryan, in Sara's eyes it's cheating.
There are so many elements that made this story so compelling. Ryan's coping mechanism for living the life he does. He keeps his personal life separate from his work life. He even has a different name for work. No one from work knows where he lives. He takes in strays - a bird, cat, and dog. Yes, a psychiatrist would have a field day with Ryan. But it's Sara who pushes into both Ryan's personal and work life. Sara is pushy, sometimes too much, not always knowing when to back off. It did become a little irritating when she had such tunnel vision to get Ryan to talk to her, even when he was clearly in pain, either physical or emotional. She did help him realize he is worth so much more than being used by Catherine, his boss.
The ending felt a little rushed and tidied up too neatly. After everything Ryan and Sara went through, the end was almost anti-climatic. Still, the story as a whole was captivating with well developed characters and a plot surely different than most.