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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Romeo For Hire by Jane Beckenham

Romeo For Hire by Jane Beckenham
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short (145 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fern

Scorching sex: definitely on the menu. Hold the love, please…

Workaholic Carly Mason is caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock: an invitation for four days of sun and sand with her friends and their men. The hard place: “Mr. Invisible”, who lusts after her with delicious abandon, doesn’t exist—Carly invented him to keep her friends off her back about her lack of a love life.

Then she encounters a motorbike-riding Adonis whose image taunts her during the wee small hours. When fate drops him in her sights the next day, she grabs the opportunity to offer him a job. Pretend to be her Romeo, just for the duration of her getaway.

Exhausted from months negotiating his multi-million-dollar company’s expansion, Marco Valente is more than tempted by Carly’s outrageous proposal. If nothing else, it’ll give him a temporary escape from his high-profile life—and his mother’s serial-bride attitude.

Once on the island, Carly realizes her well-meaning friends have tricked her into a “relaxing” vacation. For the next four days and nights, it’s just her and her hired Romeo. And a growing connection that definitely wasn’t part of the contract…
Romeo For Hire is a flirtatious romp that quickly becomes an emotional roller coaster ride; full of twists, turns, and dips along the way.

Carly is a business woman who has worked hard to be where she is today. She doesn’t have the time (or the inclination) for a relationship, so she creates a fake boyfriend to impress her friends. Marco, on the other hand, is a successful businessman who is desperate to take a break from work. He’s wants to play. She’s all about business. The irony isn’t lost on the reader, and the first encounter between them is extremely funny and memorable because of it. When those differences are forgotten on an exotic island following a minor betrayal by her friends, sparks fly, and I found myself falling in love. Marco is sexy and suave, while Carly is a relatable as a woman who’s denied herself for far too long and caves to her desires. They are like fire and ice, complimenting one another in way only opposites can.

Unfortunately, when the vacation was over, the story took an awkward shift. After a lengthy time apart, Carly and Marco reunite under foreseeable circumstances. And when they do, they take one another far too literally. That isn’t to say some of the feelings each experience are out of context. Marco and Carly have serious issues from their past that prevent them from committing to someone emotionally, and sometimes they do lash out inappropriately. The problem is the reconciliations, and consequent misunderstandings, were one too many. In having this deep-seated hurt that is never explored (except through the eyes of the protagonists) the problems seem rather trivial and petty. Sometimes characters need to take a moment to talk and get to know one another, and I felt these two could have benefited from that immensely. Considering the length of their involvement (and the subsequent change in status of their relationship), there was plenty of opportunity to do so.

There are positive things to be said about Romeo For Hire, however. For one, author Jane Beckenham writes beautifully and her dialogue is both witty and spot-on. I loved some of the tongue-in-cheek sexual undertones (especially in the beginning with the motorcycle) and felt they really added spice. There is nothing as sexy as an Italian hero, and Marco did manage to make me melt on more than one occasion. Although I didn’t care for Carly’s back-seat approach to her circumstances, she did manage to make me ache for her one more than one occasion. Her history is difficult, and something no one should ever have to suffer. Both Marco and Carly are endearing and memorable, if not entirely understandable at times.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced story that sizzles and will tug at her your heart, Romeo For Hire will definitely hit the spot.