I love improbable and fantastical premises in romance: the ability to dive into another person’s life and experiences with situations that I would never encounter in my quiet little life. Even more interesting and enjoyable for me are the stories that take an almost credible situation, and spin it into a story that is engaging, well told and has moments of laugh out loud humor. Elaine Raco Chase has managed to check off all those little boxes in this story, cleverly narrated by Sheila Book.
Stephanie (Stevie) is a woman who worked diligently to make it in the boy’s club world of Nashville Music producing. A mailroom intern, lost in the throes of his first major crush has brought his father to confronting her about her lascivious intentions. While Stevie is understandably distraught at the negative attention, she also is aware that this is a phase for the boy, if only the father will see that.
A cockeyed plan is hatched to break the teen’s crush…yet all is never quite that simple. More suited to the father than the teen son, Stevie’s thoughts and attraction is turned to the father, electricity is clearly defined and the steam rampant in the latter half of the story.
Sheila Book is the narrative voice in this story, and she manages to incorporate small tempo and pacing changes with minor pitch inflections to narrate the story. Additionally, interior monologues are treated with an ‘open room echo effect’ that distinguishes the perspective. I’m slightly torn about the technique, it took several instances for it not to become a jarring change in the listen, but once acclimated the distinction was clear and felt more natural.
I’ve repeatedly asserted that Chase writes a fabulous dialogue that is loaded with witty repartee, clever comebacks and feels completely natural. There is no lack of that skill in this story, with dialogue that ping-pomgs back and forth between the speakers, incorporating snarky and smart responses, double entendre and several moments for processing for both parties.
These are purely fun and light romances that are heavy on description and scene establishment, solid character building and sexual tension and engagement that adds steam and substance to a very enjoyable listen.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: Calculated Risk
Author: Elaine Raco Chase
Narrator: Sheila Book
Published by: Self-Produced
Audio Length: 4 Hours: 20 minutes
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"Lady, I want you to stop seducing my son! Hell, what are you, 32, 34, Rob is 17..there's room for a whole other person!"
Thus in one of Nashville's poshest restaurants began a stream of threats against Stephanie Brandt along with a heavy hand 'mangling' her shoulder, followed by a bill shoved into the middle of her quiche by a big man wearing work boots, denim and a T-shirt with an obscene foreign word printed on it.
Until Quintin Ward stormed into her life with his threats and accusations, Stevie had not known his son Rob even existed., let alone was her mail room clerk.
When she's finally able to convince Quintin that she has no designs on his son, they embark on a campaign to squelch Rob's amorous ideas and fantasy love-life with his boss. But their very calculated risk backfires!
A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.