Christmas Novella Round-up
Live (The Burnside Series) by Mary Ann Rivers

One Night in Santiago by Audra North

Audra is twitter acquaintance of mine, who I first started following after seeing her tweets on diversity in romances. I ended up missing her first novel, (Falling for the CEO) probably because it had CEO in the title and my eyes just skate over that word in romance novel titles (along with baby, sheik or billionaire) but based on the strengths of this story I just went back and ordered it. This is her second novella in the Stanton family series for Flaunt.

Lily Stanton is hardworking consultant getting over a horrible fiancé (cheated with her best friend, while encouraging her to work longer hours to suport his art career). She is stranded in Santiago, Chile on the eve of her younger sister's college graduation. All she needs is warm room and her flight to take off on time tomorrow. The last thing she needs to find herself in is a competition for the last room at Santiago Ritz with a handsome stranger. Bruno Komarov is a Chilean-American businessman, trying to get back to California in time for the arrival of the first shipment of the season, a very important event for his family's import-export business. Bruno is wary yet fascinated by Lily whose beauty he admires, and whose hard-nose negotiation tactics delight and surprise him.

He cedes the last room to Lily who impulsively invites him to share it. Almost immediately regretting her decision her pride keeps her from recinding her offer of the suite's couch. Lily and Bruno's interactions are thick with sexual tension and they see-saw on whether acknowledging that would be a good thing or not.

Audra does a great job with the hesitant flirtation, and the building attraction while at the same time allowing Bruno and Lily to get to know each other beyond the superficial throught some great interactions and conversations. One night romances are usually a tough sell for me, but in the end I was left feeling that Bruno and Lily have chance at making a bi-costal relationship work. They are both career driven professionals who extremely family orientated but whose work lives led them to either stay in relationships longer than they should have or gave them excuses to keep them superficial and both are ready to make changes.

What I loved: Bruno was believably Chilean-American avoiding Latino clichés, and his family's backstory made sense. Lily's interest in a hot night in Santiago with Bruno makes great story sense, but it not without emotional complications.

This was really enjoyable sexy novella. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Digital ARC provided by the author in exchange for a fair review.

Publication date Dec 30, 2013


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