Series: Different Paths to Love, Book #2
Author: Diana DeRicci
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (112 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 11th 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Photographer Ralph Haraldsson’s birthday celebration starts to turn disastrous when he runs into his ex, and it seems to be headed downhill from there. Julian Franzese, an off-duty cop with a hotter-than-sin body, gets co-opted to take Ralph home when the friends he came with run into problems. Even though they’ve never met before, Julian defends Ralph’s wounded pride from his ex and his body from a creepy patron. The relationship starts out cool, but Ralph soon warms up to the persistent Texan, and as they get to know each other, the temperature continues to rise. But Ralph has a couple of secrets: an old injury that could make a difference, and the room he keeps locked up behind his studio—a room where only those who play by the rules can enter. What might Julian think if Ralph shows him all his hidden colors?
Review: This is the second book in a series, but stands well on its own.
Ralph and his boss Tony are at a local bar celebrating Ralph’s birthday when he meets the super sexy cop with the even sexier accent, Julian. But Ralph is not easily swayed by suave one-liners, no matter how attractive Julian may be. When Ralph’s ex makes an impromptu appearance, Julian makes it a little less uncomfortable. And then a drunk stranger gets a little too touchy feely and Julian once again comes to Ralph’s aid. Ralph is gun-shy because of the past and a secret he hides that he isn’t sure any suitor would welcome.
Julian latches onto Ralph immediately and refuses to let go! He runs of the shoddy ex and the unwanted advances of an overzealous bar fly in hopes of getting a little closer to blonde photographer. His persistence eventually pays off as Ralph slowly but surely lets him into his life. Julian becomes even more protective of his would be lover when Ralph shares with him his feeling of being watched. And when Ralph’s hyper awareness becomes reality, both men may suffer in the aftermath.
I do love when a title plays directly into the story so completely. Ralph does anything but color inside the lines. His personality and life have been carved out the challenges he’s faced, and here he is facing yet another one. The difference is this time he has a loving partner standing by him who will still be there when he reaches the other side. Add to that Julian’s sex on a stick persona and very protective nature toward Ralph, and you have a pretty decent base story.
The storyline itself wasn’t as in-depth as the first book in this series, and I didn’t connect with the characters on a personal level quite like I did with Tony and Brandon. But it was still a well-written book. And I think part of the reason I didn’t connect as well to Ralph might be because he’s so closed off. That could be what the author was aiming for. Regardless I’m still intrigued by this author and her work and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.
Link to Tams’ review of book #1, Second Chance at Love: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/583056144
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through MM Good Book Reviews*