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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Secret Dreams by Heather Peters

Secret Dreams by Heather Peters
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (131 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Azalea

Annie DeRosa, a savvy, brilliant, music producer, lives and works in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She is the best at what she does and devotes her waking hours to her work.

Music icon and 80's superstar Dane Franklyn is fiercely independent and possessive of his material. His music company has given him literally hours to write a title song for his upcoming album. He's never allowed anyone to share the load, until now. Finding himself in a bind, he's come to the conclusion he needs help. But when that help comes in the petite fiery form of lovely, sexy, smart Annie De Rosa, the sparks fly.

The sexual tension crackles from their first meeting and gradually elevates into an all-out inferno by the time they begin working together in the studio. Being stubborn individuals, their personalities soon clash, and Dane and Annie agree to disagree. But music creates a language and sexuality all its own, driving them both to discover a passion and desire neither have ever known.

Annie DeRosa, a brilliant music publisher who lives and works in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is the best at what she does. After being left at the altar by another musician/fiancĂ©, she doesn’t plan to get close to a musician again. She’s devoted to her work. But when rock musician and 80s icon Dane Franklyn, and Annie’s idol, has but hours to get his latest album completed, he must forego his independence and agree to work with the sexy producer.

Dane, a loner, has a reputation as being difficult to work with, and Annie doesn’t relish the task, but a successful album will give her a leg up in the industry. Recently, Dane’s muse seems to have gone on holiday, and the task is formidable. Stopping at a local bar that evening, he spots two attractive women at a table. The auburn-haired woman knocks his socks off and he strolls over to acquaint himself. Annie, who only introduces herself as Anne Marie, rebuffs his attempt at seduction, but allows a kiss at the curb while she waits for a cab. The next morning, Dane is shocked to find his mystery woman is his new producer.

Annie is all business, but under her professional exterior, she stands guard over her heart because Dane spells capital T trouble. Nevertheless, they work well together, and in no time, the title song is finished and shipped to the recording company. End of story? Not quite. The song is a hit, but now the recording company wants the rest of the album completed within two weeks. Dane must beg Annie to help him once again, this time at his Hudson River country house where he has a state-off-the-art recording studio. In the privacy of Dane’s personal world, both discover their initial attraction has developed into something deeper, but can they conquer their inner fears to allow love to settle in?

I loved this story despite a few nits. In one instance, Annie tells Dane that her friend Jess is driving her grandmother up to his house the following day or the day after, but later that same day she receives a voicemail from Jess telling her there’s been an emergency and they’ll be coming “tomorrow.” Think that should have been “the day after tomorrow.”

We’re introduced to Dane’s friend Josh, who had a band, and was presumably a musician when his wife dies of breast cancer, but Annie tells Jess that Josh is a veterinarian. Lastly, the reader is only told the name of Dane’s country house (Rose Hill) after they’ve already left and returned to New York City. Since it’s mentioned a few times, I’d like to have seen the name when Annie first sees the house.

Author Heather Peters has created a beautiful story of two talented and stubborn souls with a lot more take than give, but who complement each other. Both suffer the emptiness of abandonment and have a fear of losing the people they love. In Secret Dreams, the sexual tension sizzles whenever Annie and Dane are in the same room. Personally, I found the sexual tension even better than the actual sex scenes (I thrive on expectation).

Ms. Peters has plot enough for a longer story, however, she’s done a superb job with a shorter version. Her use of describing her characters through traits, as in Dane’s choosing sturdy Early American furniture for his country house instead of flashy furnishings as might befit a rock star, says a lot about what kind of person he is privately. Kudos to Ms. Peters for a well-written, solidly plotted story; I read it in one sitting.