My Review of Fire and Midnight by Sandra Renee Appet

 

Fire and Midnight
By
Sandra Renee Appet

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He could be her best worst decision…

With a glass of wine in hand, Jane Keegan’s finger is poised to delete the account her pushy BFF created for her on “The Cowboys” escort service website. Sure, she’s lonely, but not desperate. Then an image of sky-blue eyes and warm, tanned muscles jumps off the screen. And she finds herself hitting the “Book Now” button.

After all, why not? She’s a free, divorced woman on business in San Antonio. There’s nothing to lose…except her nerve. Especially when Mr. Tall Dark And Incredibly Sexy meets her at a River Walk bar—and his only-for-you smile turns her insides into a quivering mass of second thoughts.

Ryan Zeigler is enduring one last escort assignment as a favor before hanging up his Cowboys hat to run his own restaurant. Yet there’s something about the pretty New Yorker’s vulnerable grin and I’ve-got-baggage eyes that halts his usual dating M.O. in its tracks.

When Ryan sweetens the deal—no strings, no payment expected—Jane the good girl takes the bold step of letting her vixen out to play. But when it’s time to go home, her heart is at a crossroads. Is Ryan the real deal? Or is she letting yet another man take her heart for a ride?

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Jane’s divorce is final and her best friend Charlotte registers her for an escort service. Her thought, you’re going to be out of town on business, live a little and get back in the saddle.

Jane has real doubts about this but changes her mind and sets up a date with the only ‘cowboy’ that caught her eye.

Ryan is done with the escort service, he made the money to open and sustain his restaurant. He wants nothing to do with that service any longer. Then Camilla his ex-lover/boss calls for one last job. He wasn’t going to do it, but when he opened her profile something drew him to her.

This is a favorite scene when they meet before their date.

She shook her head. “I’m sure you can tell that I’ve never done anything like this before.” She took a sip of her wine, then another, seemingly relying on it to pump her with courage. She pointed at the glass. “I shouldn’t be drinking this. Wine is the reason I’m here. I believe I drank a whole bottle before confirming the weekend date with the service. This whole thing is just not me. I’m not sure how women do this.”

Ryan tilted his head. “Wine makes a great scapegoat. I’m curious. What do you think this is?” he asked, genuinely interested in her answer.

She shifted in her seat. “Well, for starters, women pay you to treat them like they’re beautiful and desirable. I suppose I understand the appeal of it, but I’m too much of a realist. In the back of my mind, I don’t think I could get past the fact that it’s just pretend. The fantasy would be lost on me.”

“I think that’s where you have it wrong. Yes, women are paying for companionship, but the arrangement is very real. I couldn’t be with a client I didn’t find attractive. That’s why the client and escort meet before the session ever begins, like we’re doing now, to make sure it’s a good match for both parties.”

“So why do women choose to hire an escort?”

Ryan took a sip of his drink before answering. “Lots of reasons. Some do it just for the good time. It’s a chance to have a little fun, with no strings attached. Some use it as a stress reliever. They just want to blow off some steam. Others are coming off a bad relationship and need a session with an escort to get back in the saddle, so to speak.” He’d experienced them all.

Jane narrowed her eyes. “I think my friend Charlotte used that same expression.”

“Is it safe to say you’re in the last category, then?”

She nodded. “I’ve been separated for almost a year, but my divorce became final recently. Charlotte thought this would help me jump back into dating. I’m just not sure this is the right way to do it.” Jane’s gaze moved to her drink. “I’m a real downer, aren’t I?”

“Not at all. Your life is in a state of upheaval. What you’re feeling is completely normal. Maybe you’re not saddle-ready yet,” Ryan said, sensing she was about to give him the boot. It had only happened a couple of times in his career.

She smiled. “Actually, I think I am, but not like this. I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re a hot commodity and women throw themselves at you, but like I said—”

“It’s not for you,” he said with a smile.

“Exactly.” She tilted her head. “I deserve to be with someone who wants to be with me, not who’s getting paid to be with me. I’m going to hold out for that person.” Jane pulled the strap of her purse, which hung on the back of the chair, and fumbled with the clasp. “It was nice meeting you.”

“Have you eaten yet?” Ryan asked, even though he was sure she’d drunk the glass of wine on an empty stomach by the way she wobbled on the heels of her sandal as she stepped from the stool.

“Um, no. I just got into town a few hours ago. I’ll just grab something.”

“Have you ventured down to the River Walk yet?”

“Out there?” She pointed to the bank of windows. “My room overlooks that area. It seems a little crazy.”

“It can be, but it also boasts the best places to eat in town. Care to join me for dinner?”

“You do understand that I just canceled the date, right?”

“Officially, yes. That doesn’t stop me from asking a hungry out-of-towner to dinner and because I want to, not because I’m being paid,” he said, purposely using her words. He enjoyed watching her shift from foot to foot considering his invitation.

“You don’t have anything better to do on a Friday night than hang out with a stranger?”

“Frankly, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.” Ryan hooked the strap of her purse under his thumb, slid it over her shoulder and tossed a few bills on the bar.

“Shall we?” Ryan offered her the crook of his elbow.

After a moment of hesitation, she accepted, sliding her small palm around his arm.
Sandra Renee Appet. Fire and Midnight (Kindle Locations 2569-2575). Kindle Edition.

These two hit it off over the course of the weekend. Jane’s business meetings go well and she considers staying longer.

Now no relationship starts off completely smooth, but outsiders should stay out of it. Family interference is the worst. Ryan’s sister and Jane’s ex-husband seem to think they should get over themselves and do their best to undermine all of it.

Some very tense moments, a lot of getting to know you, steamy sex, interesting twists and challenges plus lots of fun facts about San Antonio.

An entertaining, fun and sexy read.

5 Contented Purrs for Sandra!

  Sandra Renee Appet

Sandra is an author of romance who stays up too late dreaming up sexy heroes. When she’s not writing, shoe shopping or saving wayward turtles, Sandra can be found with a cup of coffee browsing the shelves of an indie bookstore. As a social media junkie, Sandra loves to chat with readers and formed the Bookalicious Babes Facebook group where members share their love of books.

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