By rights this should be a 1-star book for me. The author does a number of things that really yank my 'gimme-a-break' chain.
First, she is an info dumper of the first water. The first 10-20 pages of this is all back ground info on the main character. Who she is, how she is, how hard she works, where she works.... and on and on. This almost had the effect of making me put the book down. But I soldered on and it did get better. I guess since all the info had been dumped, we could get on with telling the story.
Second, there was the Lightning Bolt Of Love. The H/h first see each other at a meeting where his company is thinking of hiring hers as an advertising firm. They get flustered, can barely think about what is going on around them. Others immediately notice their distraction. Body parts tingle, breaths come faster...you get the drill. I have a problem with a 45 y.o woman and a 50 y.o man having so little self control that they can barely function in a business meeting because they have the immediate hots for each other. And this isn't even an erotica novel. But the thrust of the story is to get them on the love train immediately so they have to deal with the fall out.
Third, the racial issue is always
on. Jada's inner dialogue is always about her blackness. And she is referred on many occasions as 'that black woman' when being talked about or described. Her brother makes a scene at a party because he's concerned about a foreign, white guy messing around with his sister and leaving the country after breaking her heart. Dude, she 45 years old! If she wants to be a trans-Atlantic booty call why is that even your business? And then there is this gem:
"I am one of the seventy percent"
"Yeah, that's the estimated percent of professional black women who are single. I can't even tell you the last time I had a date. Years..."
I, know, Luca, I thought the same thing. Seriously this was their first date conversation. And not only did she trot this out then, she also said the same thing to his mother!
. Man, I almost DNF'd the book right here. That 'sad-sack lonely professional black women can't find a man, oh those poor things' shit pisses me off!
So why did I give this 3-stars (well 2.5 really...)
Because actually there was something there. Underneath all the crap that I don't like there was actually an interesting romance that grew and blossomed nicely. I liked that Jada and Luca were older (even if sometimes they really did not act like it).
I also thought the inclusion of Jada's workplace drama added some nice texture to the story. Too much and it could have overwhelmed the story, too little and it would have made the story that much more anemic. But I enjoyed the look into Jada's working world. This is where I think the writing actually read more naturally than elsewhere in the book.
The parts where Jada and Luca simply talk and get to know each other were sweet. But here again it felt like these were 20-somethings instead of the mature people they actually were.
So I can't give it an unqualified rec. There are some problems with the writing and storytelling but again there is a glimmer of something there.