Finding Joy Street (The Tarot Series, #1) by Melissa Belle
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Adult, Contemporary, Romance
No one’s come close to uncovering California Blue's darkest secrets. But she’s about to meet the man who’s up for the challenge… New college grad California has always been known as "Happy Helpful Cali." Her sunny disposition and enthusiastic tarot readings cover up her darker side—until gorgeous player London Shaw moves into her Boston apartment building and seems to see right through her. With his perma-frown and expensive suits, London’s the most irritating, arrogant man California’s ever met. And despite their instant undeniable chemistry, she's the exact opposite of London's type. He doesn't want to pick her up, and she has no interest in helping him out. But as the tarot cards would have it, California and London are destined for a torrid encounter. When a crisis forces California to let London inside her world, the seismic fire between them ignites into one passionate "no strings attached" night together. But can California's dark past let her have a future with London? And can the persistent Bostonian do what no man ever has—get California Blue to lay down her defenses and bare her soul?
We’ve reached my office, and I’m out of distractions, but I stop so abruptly in front of the doorway London collides into me.
My skin turns blazing hot when his body bumps up against mine. My arm touching his chest feels molten, and my heart starts racing as the butterflies in my stomach soar. For a moment, I don’t move. I don’t want to move, because that would mean my body would no longer be pressed up against London Shaw’s solid chest.
I swallow hard and will myself to step back from him. If I look up into his face I’ll get confirmation whether the attraction is all on my side or if it’s mutual, and I don’t want to know. I can’t know. Because London Byrne Shaw is threatening to derail every promise I’ve made to myself since I was sixteen years old.
“My”—my voice comes out uneven and I clear my throat hastily—“my calendar is in my office.” I walk inside briskly and pull up the schedule on the computer. “In two to three weeks…let’s see. What day would you like to come in?”
London looks over my shoulder, his left hand lightly touching my back.
I grit my teeth and press onward with the mouse. “How about two Mondays from now at nine o’clock? That way I’ll have more time to prepare.” In more ways than just memorizing my script. I’m going to have to prepare my body to turn off London Shaw, because right now I’m already wet for him.
“Monday’s good.” His voice is low in my ear and his breath brushes my neck.
The scent is minty and perfect, and the warmth sends shivers down my back. I jab at the keyboard with my fingers and type his name into the time slot. Then I press save and step away, forcing him to back up by Nice’s desk...
London Shaw is the kind of man who could really get under my skin. But I can’t let him.
I exhale heavily. The heat burning me up from the inside out is licking every part of me, especially all the hormonally-induced areas, and from my...clenched stomach to what is starting to feel like continuous wetness between my legs, I’m a total mess.
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
Finding Joy Street isn't your normal, run-of-the-mill, contemporary romance. What you get is a helluva lot more than what you see. Cali Blue gives across the impression of being permanently positive and "practically perfect in every way". However, she is dealing with a whole lot more than what she allows people to see, and this also influences her career of choice. When she meets London for the first time, sparks fly, but not in the way you expect. If I remember correctly, a "prick in a nice suit" is one description of him. However, he gets under Cali's skin and not always in a bad way. When she needs help, he is there unconditionally.
I thoroughly enjoyed how these two got to know each other, figuring out the puzzle of what makes Cali/London Cali/London! The attraction is there, and it does yo-yo for a while, but Melissa Belle allows their relationship to grow way beyond just a quick romp.
If I had one 'bad' thing to say it would be that the place names being names got a bit old, but consider that just one of my personal quirks. About the story itself, I can give nothing bad. It deals with some major issues in a sensitive and sympathetic way, without glamorising or playing the victim card.
Extremely well written, and a joy to read, I look forward to more from The Tarot Series. Definitely recommended.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Melissa Belle loves to write steamy romance novels where the hero and heroine are passionate, independent, and good to each other. The first romance novel she read (and fell in love with) was Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Melissa wrote her first novel riding through Europe on the train, and she travels with her husband (her best friend and first reader of all her stories) as much as possible. Melissa dances in a belly dance troupe. She is a professional tarot and oracle card reader. She also loves songwriting, hooping, and her two rescue kitties. And cupcakes.