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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Red Leather Reunion by Karen Bostrom

Red Leather Reunion by Karen Bostrom
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Azalea

Ron Granger never expected his twenty-fifth high school reunion to bring his heart's desire one step closer to reality. But when Jane Hunter shows up unexpectedly—in a hot red leather dress, no less—Ron wonders if he'll finally get a second chance to tell her how he feels.

Local TV reporter Jane Hunter never wanted to attend another Summerville High School reunion—not after the explosive split with her ex-husband twenty years ago. But the opportunity to defuse his mean-spirited campaign to smear her is too enticing to miss. Besides, she's after something more important than compliments and envy in her killer red dress—it’s another man from her past she’s hoping to dazzle.

Unrequited love, resentment, and vengeance create a steamy mix—will the lives of these three estranged friends ever be the same?

Jane Hunter has been the object of Ron Granger's affection since their high school days when both were considered nerdy and shy. Of course Ron couldn't tell Jane how he felt because they were part of a threesome of platonic friends: ­studious Ron, plain Jane and jock Cliff DeWitt. When Ron finally gets the courage to tell Jane how he feels, she's confiding her feelings for Cliff to him. The Class of '85 graduates, Jane and Cliff marry, and Ron goes on to academia, marrying and later, divorcing.

Jane divorces Cliff after a few years and goes on to make a name for herself as an investigative television reporter. Class reunions roll by: ten years, fifteen, twenty. Ron attends, always hoping to run into Jane again.

Now Summerville High is having their twenty-fifth reunion and Ron wonders if it's going to be as boring as the last three. He's in for a surprise when he spots gorgeous, sexy Jane in the doorway arch under an array of black and silver balloons. Gone are the glasses. Gone are the extra pounds she gained after her marriage to Cliff. Ron feels the old pull toward the girl he never forgot. But Cliff is beside him at the hotel bar, as oblivious now, as then, as to the pathetic figure he cuts. Cliff is a hero in his own eyes, a jerk to everyone else. Jane joins them, and after a bit of acrimony between the ex-partners, she suggests a truce­: leave the past behind and move on with their lives. But can they?

It's difficult to show a lot of character depth in a story of only forty-four pages, but author Bostrom has done a fantastic job of creating empathetic characters in the persons of Ron and Jane. Choosing to tell this story from Ron's point of view was a good move by Bostrom, because Ron is the character with the most to lose, and his feelings toward Jane are what makes him the perfect hero.

Red Leather Reunion provides an intriguing glimpse into the lives of classmates after a quarter-century hiatus and mirrors the realities in readers' lives. I cheered for Ron and Jane and was not disappointed. Brava Ms. Bostrom.