Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: A Kind of Romance
SERIES: A Kind of Stories #2
AUTHOR: Laine Hayes
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 234 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 6th, 2016
Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.
Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.
Opposites attract! That seems to be the theme with this series, and a plot I particularly like…
Zeke and Benny couldn’t be more different. Zeke, although growing up in a more working class family, is now a Wall Street Asshole. He lives in an expensive loft, has a personal driver, wears expensive suits, eats in expensive restaurants, and somewhat looks down on his families bagel business. And boy does he have some family drama. He has a love/hate relationship with his father, his mother has a serious medical issue, and his brothers seem to do nothing but annoy him. His last boyfriend cheated on him with a one of Zeke’s coworkers, but Zeke is still contemplating a relationship with the bastard.
Benny is a fierce boy! Creative, driven, inspired, talented, bossy, and brave. He is also from a big family, Catholic and Italian. He grew up with his mother, a little bit on the outside of the family, or at least tolerated by them, due to his sexuality and his lack of a father. He works part-time at the family restaurant, part-time at Bower Bagels, and does some clothing design and styling on his own. We know him from his styling for Spiral, the band featured in A Kind of Truth.
The two meet when Zeke’s dad, aka Benny’s boss, takes a tumble at work and Benny calls Zeke to tell him. The two meet at the hospital, and Zeke is rather shocked by the flamboyant Benny. Zeke’s dad decides there is a spark between the two and he’d really like to set them up. After some pushing, the two agree to go out for a drink, prove there is no connection, and tell Zeke’s dad to give up. But as you can imagine, there is a bit of a spark!
What follows is a surprisingly deep story! At times it was sweet and fluffy, and I could see what was coming a mile away, but then something unexpected would happen and I’d get a bit tearful. Both of these men have had some hard times, Benny is surprised to see that in what he assumes is a perfect life, Zeke was not the happy well-adjusted kid. Zeke is surprised to find out that Benny also had issues with his family, and wasn’t as accepted as he could have been. This all comes out over time, amidst dating, sex, and Zeke acting like a jerk. The differences between the two, both in physical appearance and in their expression of their sexuality made for a fantastic story. Zeke goes from being slightly repulsed by Benny’s flamboyance, to finding it tolerable, then to embracing it. Zeke actually goes through a total transformation over this book, from an asshole, to a sweet devoted man. Benny holds his own against such a strong character, doesn’t take any shit from Zeke, and makes a decision that I felt was fully justified. I went from disliking Zeke, to tolerating him, to loving him, pretty much as Benny did!
There were certainly moments of lightness and humor, Zeke particularly makes a fool out of himself one night, and I giggled. There are moments of sadness when we see what is really happening with Zeke’s family. There were some great sex scenes, I loved that Benny was strong there as well, and bossed Zeke around a bit. The two were playful both in and out of bed, and I loved it. There are a handful of additional characters, family and coworkers, as well as Rand and Will from the first book. We saw glimpses in to both men’s family life, and met family members on both sides. It was just the right amount of busy-ness with other people, but not too much to detract from the love story of Zeke and Benny. I love Laine’s writing, she has several of these ensemble series that I have really enjoyed. In some ways they are similar, each book has its own couple but they all mingle. But the series have enough unique characters, and are in different cities, that they are different enough to be interesting. I was thinking this series would follow the musicians in the band from the first book, so this one took me by surprise. Pleasantly I must say!
This is just a good book! Opposites attract, a bit of family drama and some light angst, good sex scenes, a little humor, New York City as the setting, and a perfect ending. Great characters and great writing! I loved it!
You could read this as a stand alone, the two main characters from the first book are in it, but they don’t play huge parts. Benny is in the first book, but only in a small way. So you could read this on its own, but I’d start with the first one anyway. It was fantastic as well.
Here is my review for the first book in this series, A Kind of Truth.