By: Hayley Green
*I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.*
In this spicy romance by Sadira Stone, we first meet bookstore owner Clara after a pretty intense dream about her late husband, Jared. Jared died nearly a year ago in a biking accident. They started a bookstore together, and the main attraction of the store is a backroom full of erotica, both art and written word, hidden behind a locked red door. Clara screens every person who wants a look at that room, to make sure they aren’t the creepy type.
We meet one of her love interests, Nick, when he asks to get the key to the red door. Nick is a professor who needs to jumpstart his career again by writing a book about changing perceptions in beauty through the years, and he wants to use the many books in Clara’s backroom for his research. Nick, Greek in ethnicity, is immediately interested in Clara. The feeling is mutual.
But things become more complicated as Clara gets involved with another man, Doug, who is a recently divorced high school social studies teacher. He helps her with her failing business and is a strong shoulder to cry on when she feels upset or needs comfort.
She must choose between these two men, vying for her attention. One relationship is intense and fast moving, causing Clara to question the intensity and pull back, especially when there is a dark secret in this man’s past. The other relationship is slow and steady, the kind of relationship where they feel as though they’ve known each other forever. Clara cares for both of them and doesn’t want to hurt either one, but someone has to get hurt in this sort of situation.
In all honesty, it was clear to me from the start who she was going to choose. Maybe that’s because I’ve read so many romances that I’m used to these two dynamics and which is always chosen over the other. But that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it any less.
The sex scenes were well done, with the right amount of heat and awkwardness for the two men with whom they were featured. The characters felt authentic and well developed. I enjoyed the writing a lot, even though there were a few minor typos that didn’t detract from the story at all.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for fans of romance. The idea of a person being able to find love again after a divorce or the death of their spouse was a theme in this book, especially with all three main characters in the romance being in one of those two situations. It was an uplifting and heartening romance, about opening yourself up to romance after a great loss of someone you loved.