Friday, March 30, 2007

A Wilder Name by Laura Leone

PAGES: 187
SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Series Romance
SERIES: Silhouette Desire #507

REASON FOR READING:Read and loved Fallen From Grace so I have slowly been glomming some of her older categories. She seems to prefer writing SFF these days so I'm reduced to searching out her backlist.

SUMMARY: [back blurb]

Once bitten, twice shy

After her scandalous divorce, Nina Gnagnarelli vowed never to trust a man again. She hid behind her carefully cultivated cool exterior -- but then Luke Swain came along. He irritated her from the moment they met. But he also aroused wild and uncontrollable passions in her, making her feel absolutely reckless...

Luke couldn't keep away from this beautiful woman whose life-style was so different from his own. She preferred French restaurants and designer clothes to his clean country living, but he'd caught a glimpse of the vulnerable beneath her icy facade. Luke knew that courting Nina was playing with fire, but for a lifetime with her, he'd risk getting burned.

This was a story of opposites attract. Nina Gnagnarelli is an opera singer and a rising star in her field She enjoys her elegant and sophisticated life. Luke is a rock singer and a down to earth country boy from Kansas. They meet at a music awards ceremony in New York where they are presenters for a jazz award. The first thing that struck me about this book was its sharp witty dialogue. I love good dialogue and the sparks just fly between these two right from the start. They laugh, flirt and argue and discover that they have nothing in common except their love of jazz music.

But Nina is a likable character and not a snob like I first thought. She was raised as part of a working class Italian American family from Brooklyn. She was quite the tomboy, playing football & baseball, camping, shouting and fighting with her four older brothers. Luke is also a very likable character with a wonderful sense of humor. He's ambitious and worked very hard to achieve his rock star status with song writing, rehearsals, recordings, and tours. I was rooting for these two right from the start even though they seemed so opposite. Their attraction takes off immediately, but it takes them a while to admit that on some level they were perfect for each other. They fight their attraction and the sexual tension and their first sexual encounter was very hot.

After that, Luke's fame, mobbing fans and rock star life interferes with their relationship when they have long separations as he goes on tour. Their relationship is splashed across the tabloids along with lots of nasty stories about his relationship with other women. Eventually the focus of the story becomes about trust. Can two famous people have a relationship despite being smeared by all the scandal sheets and gossip columns? The paparazzi and reporters and mobs of fans don't make it easy. Both of them have different tastes in music, art, movies, clothes, and food, so there were so many obstacles to overcome and a HEA seemed rather remote for a while. [spoiler] Near the end Luke has to leave town for an extended tour and Nina calls his room in LA one night. Of course, like an old cliche, another woman answers the phone and Nina's big misunderstanding is born. But it was of short duration and Luke's irritable, yet sweet and funny marriage proposal was wonderful and only proves that those 'three little words' is all a girl wants but some guys take a long time to get it.
[end spoiler]

There is a light hearted humorous quality to the dialogue with a little darker, serious undertones to balance it out. It really worked for me, plus Luke and Nina (and her rowdy family) are terrific characters. This one is worth searching around for if you're a fan of Laura Leone, like I am. It's been reissued as an e-book at fictionwise if you can't find the hardcopy.

MISCELLANEOUS: Laura Leone writes SFF under the name Laura Resnick. I checked out her website and found she wrote a 'romantica' ebook, Nights of Fire, under the name Leonie Daniels. Interesting. Now I'm curious.



Kristie (J) said...

OK - you sold me! I've been planning on getting more of her books so I just went and ordered a few. This one being one of them!
(the price is excellent but those S&H charges are killers!)

ReneeW said...

Kristie: I was thinking of you while I was writing this knowing how much you love Fallen From Grace (as I do too). I have 2 other categories by Leone in my TBR. She really is a hidden talent.

Devon said...

I recently reread another old Silhouette Desires of hers called Guilty Secrets. She really is quite good. I want to try this one now.

ReneeW said...

Devon: Yes, her old categories are buried treasures. I have another one in my TBR.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Talk about a blast from the past! I'm glad Wildside is making these old books available, since it turns out (who knew?) someone's reading them. How lovely!

A WILDER NAME was my second book sale, and I was still very green. Lucia Macro (then a young editor at Silhouette; now an executive editor over at Avon) made me rewrite half the book. And she was right! I learned a lot doing those revisions.

Laura Resnick aka Laura Leone

ReneeW said...

Laura: You may have been 'green' but your talent was obvious even then.. I'm a huge fan of your work and also glad these older books are now being made available. Thanks for stopping by. You made my day.

Wow, I haven't touched my blog in over 6 years and I'm still logged in!  Good thing because I have no idea what my password is.  In ...