Visits to a coffee shop lead to an unexpected romantic connection for two lonely strangers in this debut novel.
Driven and goal-oriented, single mother Valentina de Cordoba has big plans. As a college freshman, she became pregnant after a volatile relationship with the wrong man. Determined to provide a stable home for her son, Max, she finished college and accepted a job with a technology firm. That does not stop her from fantasizing about the handsome stranger who frequents her favorite coffee shop. Derek Cole is a businessman whose life is falling apart. He is in the middle of a contentious divorce, and his wife is demanding his company as part of the settlement. Cole notices Valentina at the coffee shop and looks forward to seeing her. When her deal on a rental home falls through, Cole impulsively offers to lease her a cottage on his property. A cautious Valentina accepts on the condition that their relationship will remain strictly business. For Cole, Valentina is a glimmer of hope, and he is determined to win her. They fall in love, but their relationship is tested when Cole faces a betrayal that threatens to destroy the company he worked so hard to build. Hicks’ first installment of her Desert Monsoon series is confident and assured, with strong storytelling, nuanced characters, and a dynamic blend of romance and suspense. The narrative is fast-paced, with the chapters alternating between the viewpoints of Valentina and Cole. This technique allows the author to explore their feelings and motivations and offer deeper insights into the story’s major events. Valentina and Cole are appealing protagonists whose rapport is bolstered by scenes that generate a nice erotic heat. The supporting characters are equally well-developed, including Nikki, a flirtatious event planner with questionable motivations, and Dom, Cole’s best friend and attorney. While the romance between Cole and Valentina takes center stage, his divorce battle with his estranged wife, Bridget, and his fight to retain control of his company provide suspense and surprise plot twists.
A sexy and irresistible tale for fans of contemporary romance.