Monday, July 1, 2019

Monday Book Review: Their No Strings Affair, by Charlotte O'Shay

Their No Strings Affair (City of Dreams, Book 3), by Charlotte O'Shay
Published June 2019 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Honey packs everything she owns and heads to NYC to jumpstart her art career. Her cheating boyfriend is history, and she finally acknowledges the truth of her mother's mantra: Careers are forever and happily ever after isn't in their DNA.

All she needs is a job and a place to live. What she doesn't need is a taciturn, sexy, ballbuster but she's woman enough to know the difference between need and want. Isn't she?

Jake's childhood was marred by tragedy and his future hijacked to a promise born of guilt. His failure drove him to a career as a SEAL and a security expert.
But it's not enough. Now he'll give up his freedom in reparation for the life he lost. Honey may be the last sweet stop on the road to a joyless future. If it's what they both want, where's the harm in a no-strings affair?
My Take:

Okay, right up front I'm just going to say it. I don't like the cover. It's too brown, and makes it look like a period story from the 1930s or 40s. I also don't like the blurb (which I already mentioned to the author. If I hadn't loved the first two books so much (so much) I wouldn't have given this story a second glance.

But I loved the first two stories. And I love the way this author writes, with emotions that bleed off the pages, so I did give the story a chance. And once I got going, I couldn't put it down.

The "City of Dreams" from the series title is New York, a place big where small town kids go to make it big. The main character's name is Honeysuckle Hill, Honey for short, a small town girl who dreams of being an artist living and working in NYC. (Yes, she's embarrassed about her name too, since she's actually not a porn star. The girl's mother has a lot to answer for, the least of which is the silly given name.)

Honey's a complicated character, which Ms. O'Shay excels at creating. She's brash and sassy but also vulnerable, smart but gullible, streetwise and naive at the same time. At "five feet nothing" she's a bundle of kinetic energy moving at breakneck speed until she runs into Jake Ricco. Ex-Navy SEAL and human brick wall. Jake runs his own security firm, and they meet at a society wedding reception where Honey is filling in for a friend and Jake is running security. The wedding, coincidentally, is the same one from Book One in the series, tangling the story lines together rather nicely.

Jake has a host of his own issues and insecurities, not the least of which is the looming deadline on his arranged marriage in Italy. Honey's tendency toward chaos doesn't fit in with Jake's neat and tidy lifestyle, but he's inexplicably drawn to her -- opposites attract, after all. The more time he spends with her, the more he loosens the tight grip he's got on his buttoned-down life, and the more he begins to realize he wants more than the future he's mapped out.

The back and forth between the characters is such fun to watch, as is the transformation of Jake's character as his walls begin to crumble, his assumptions about life tangled into a knot and unraveled in new ways, thanks to Honey. Ms. O'Shay writes with heart and humor and keeps the pages turning.

This is a standalone story, and although the other characters and events are mentioned here you can read the series in any order without spoiling the underlying plots. Although the story starts after Halloween and runs through Christmas, this makes a great read for the beach or poolside. Grab a copy for your summer reading on AMAZON

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