Mr. Right, Next Door!

Barbara Wallace
September 2012, Series Romance
HR #4335, $4.99, 185 pages, Amazon ASIN 037317831X

Grade: C+
Sensuality: Kisses

I will admit up front that I am not fond of books where the age difference between the heroine and hero is part of the conflict, especially when the woman is older. She always says “I am too old for you”, and then he says “Why does age matter, when I love you and will love you when you are old and gray.” From the very beginning there is no doubt or ambiguity about what will happen.

A neglected childhood provided the required impetus and drive for Sophie Messina’s hard-earned success. From an early age she learned the importance of a master plan and it served her well. Now after twenty years of saving and paying off educational loans, she has her own co-op apartment in a former brownstone mansion and is on the fast track to make partner in her investment firm of Twamley Greenwood. Life would be perfect except for that the fact that for the last month her upstairs neighbor has been making this horrendous noise, making it impossible for her to concentrate.

She has slipped numerous notes under his door to no avail, so finally in exasperation she goes up to confront him. When he opens the door, she is not prepared for his rugged sensuality and gorgeous looks. Their first meeting doesn’t go well, with Grant Templeton refusing to quit work on his Saturday afternoon. But when she discovers her apartment has no water, Grant comes to the rescue.

Grant Templeton was once on the fast track too and so focused on his goals of winning that he missed the disturbing signs of a friend in trouble. Unable to forgive himself, he is now on a mission to correct his past mistakes. Even though Sophie is still on the merry-go-round trying to reach for the brass ring, there is something so appealing about her. He just can’t stop flirting with her, even though he can tell it disconcerts her. If she would only break away from her rigid blueprint, he could show her that there is more to life than work.

The first couple of pages, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to like Sophie or Grant. In their first encounter Sophie came across as abrasive and self-centered, and Grant as one of those smirky flirts. I picked it up later and didn’t feel the same way about the encounter. I do understand that there are some people who truly are uptight and inflexible, but I wish that Sophie started out more well rounded instead of a stereotype. Grant also has his issues and while I chafed at his guilt-ridden angst in retrospect, I suspect I would have reacted like he did. Grant’s and Sophie’s transformation is enjoyable as they both move forward.

After Sophie and Grant get over their animosity, the chemistry and sexual attraction between the two is credible and appealing. It is fun watching how easily Grant rattles Sophie as she attempts to hide how he affects her. She knows his game plan but still is unable to guard against it.

The book is well written and it flows well, but even with that it plays out fairly predictably. It is a nice read and if you enjoy the older woman, younger man conflict than I think you will enjoy it more than I did.

-- Leigh Davis

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