Waking Up To You
Harlequin Blaze, May 1 2013, $5.50
“Waking Up To You.” Costume designer Candace Reid agrees to a five-year marriage to her friend Tommy Shane the actor so he can remain in the closet as coming out or being exposed as gay would end his film career. Before they announce their engagement, she heads to wine country when her Grandpa breaks his hip. Candace meets whistleblowing former prosecutor Oliver McKean the winery groundskeeper. As they fall in love, her promise to Tommy lingers in the way.
“Overexposed.” In Chicago, ex-marine Nick Santori knew Isabella Natale when she was little “Izzy” growing up in Little Italy. When he sees her in her family’s bakery, Nick thinks she is beautiful and wants her. When she sees Nick in the bakery, her feelings of wanting him as a teen remains as strong as an adult. Nick works as a bodyguard at a night club that some might say is a strip joint. Though confused and wondering how shallow he feels as he desires Izzy, Nick also has the hots for exotic dancer Crimson Rose, whose velvet mask is almost as enticing as her exotic G-string. Crimson Rose knows the new bodyguard as she has desired him since they grew up in Little Italy together. Although as Izzy she does not have the guts to seduce Nick, as her alter-ego Rose she does.
Both romances are entertaining torrid “triangle” contemporaries starring likable protagonists though the premise of each feels over the top. Note that Overexposed is a reprint of a 2007 release.