Marie Harte comes to the blog today with a romantic comedy (and the friends ARE comical with a big dose of heart and heat with
The Kissing Game
Rena has a bunch of friends, a loud, comical and very protective extended family, a dream and shelves FULL of romance books. She wants the “dream” of a Prince Charming and his white steed, sharing and loving one another until the end of time. In addition to that, she’s working at a dive bar where fights and beers are doled out regularly, along with a dash of “white power” wanna-bes and their associated crap. But the bare is simply a stepping stone to opening her own salon, and she’s soon moving on to being a business owner with all of that. And still, the “Viking-Like” Axel attracts and confounds her regularly. German by birth, his long hair, moustache and beard and taciturn nature leave her uncomfortable – well that and his fights. He’s ALWAYS seeming to be fighting just when she’d hoped there was more.
Axel has yet to truly deal with his grief and guilt after his mother’s death. A successful body / paint shop with a few key employees, always trying to ‘draw’ him into more activities and life, a tension between he and Rena’s cousin Del and her shop, and a crush on Rena that leaves him tongue-tied and feeling unworthy of her affections leave him flummoxed. And getting from one-word responses and fists flailing to actually ‘getting the girl” is a path full of laughter, outright hysterics (I reference the “singing telegram” – you have to read it to believe it), and honor bound to ‘protect’ those he cares for. A bit intimidating, there’s a soft heart and lots to offer under the Viking-good looks and stone-faced expression. And it will take Rena, the entirety of her crazy, loud, devoted extended family, her friends and his, and several moments that steam the print off the page to get there.
I LOVE that Harte brought in ‘real world’ struggles to this couple – from the overt racism and threats to the battles Axel had with his brother and father, the rescued cat, the opening up of his shop to those who were “unemployable’ because of their criminal histories, and Rena’s determination to know “all” of him, good, bad and indifferent. And let’s face it – the daily presents that ranged from creepy and not quite right to outright laughable singing and dancing telegrams, troll dolls and a poorly chosen video from the guy down the street just played with my emotions in ways I never expected. From laughter to “aww so sweet” every move Axel makes, and several were heavy handed, was made with the intent to protect, and even when he was wrong in the delivery – his intentions are always clear. And Rena’s patience and determination that he understands the need to talk about his past, and share it all with her allowed them both the opportunity to grow beyond their issues coming into the relationship, as they work to grow together. A favorite for the family, the laughs, the heart and the characters – giving me a sense of the small section of the city they’ve made their own.
Title: The Kissing Game
Author: Marie Harte
Genre: Comedic Elements, Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Interracial, Multi-Cultural, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: American, Sociological Relevancy
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published on: 4 February, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 54 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google ♦Audible
"I bet you a kiss you can't resist me."
Rena Jackson is ready. She's worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she's almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena's also a diehard romantic, and she's had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He's got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he's got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Rena's about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right.
At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He's been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he's way out of his depth and she's slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play...
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.