Author: Kate McMurray
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 30th 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Giovanni Boca was destined to go down in history as an opera legend until a vocal chord injury abruptly ended his career. Now he teaches voice lessons at a prestigious New York City music school. During auditions for his summer opera workshop, he finds his protégé in fourteen-year-old Emma McPhee. Just as intriguing to Gio is Emma’s father Mike, a blue-collar guy who runs a business renovating the kitchens and bathrooms of New York’s elite to finance his daughter’s dream.
Mike’s partner was killed when Emma was a toddler, and Gio mourns the beautiful voice he will never have again, so coping with loss is something they have in common. Their initial physical attraction quickly grows to something more as each hopes to fill the gap that loss and grief has left in his life. Although Mike wonders if he can truly fit into Gio’s upperclass world, their bond grows stronger. Then, trouble strikes from outside when the machinations of an unscrupulous stage mother threaten to tear Gio and Mike apart—and ruin Emma’s bright future.
Review: Fourteen year old Emma McPhee is a child prodigy and extremely talented opera singer. She was adopted by Mike and Evan at birth but sadly they lost her dad Evan, who was a cop, when she was just three. Mike runs his own business and is a very attentive and doting dad to young Emma, but he’s lonely as well after so many years alone. Giovanni Boca, Gio, was a world-renowned opera singer until a throat injury took his ability to sing. Now he teaches a summer workshop for hopeful opera singers and he is immediately entranced by young Emma and her exquisite voice. Mike manages to capture Gio’s attention as well.
Neither man is a stranger to loss, as they have both lost something or someone very dear to them. They try not to act on their mutual attraction in the beginning worried about the conflict with Emma being in the program Gio is running. A night of drinking and dancing causes them to take the relationship to the next level, but Mike is still cautious not wanting anything to stop Emma from her chance to live her dream. All too soon the stage mom from hell see’s them kissing and threatens Gio. When the bitch follows through on her threat and takes it to the extreme not only is Gio’s job on the line, but Emma’s place in the opera program is in jeopardy, leaving the romance between Mike and Gio on the chopping block as well.
McMurray has written an endearing and poignant love story between two fantastically vulnerable men. Gio is definitely more emotionally stable being the one to give his strength to Mike when he needs it, but there is that rare occasion that Gio needs for Mike to be the strong one and Mike came through for him. I didn’t really understand all the opera speak, but it was still interesting within the context of the story. I loved how Gio spoke Italian at times but McMurray conveyed the words in a way that you could figure out what he was saying, even when he didn’t tell you what he’d said. And the first time they make love the way it’s playing out in Gio’s mind like an opera, he’s playing the feelings out in his head as music, was something fresh and new that I thoroughly enjoyed!
This one is a must read for my fellow hopeless romantics, not much angst but a lot of passion between the ML and that sometimes elusive HEA. My only niggle, from the start of the workshop Emma was pushing for her dad and Gio to get together, and then when they did she was completely weirded out and standoffish almost about it at the start. She quickly came around, but I just found that wishy-washy and out of context. Other than that, this was such a good read, devoured in one setting, and couldn’t put it down.