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Sonoran Heat
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Sonoran Heat

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Sonoran Heat by Katrina Strauss is the beautifully written story, set in Phoenix, AZ, of 44 year-old Tony and 21 year-old Josh, who must navigate a significant age gap as they fall into a relationship with each other. Tony is questioning the direction of his life since he and his partner of more than 20 years have recently drifted apart. He works as a landscape designer, and doesn’t realize how lonely he is until he spends several hours one night at his favorite diner.

There he meets 21 year-old Josh who is waiting tables to earn tuition for design school. Josh wants to succeed in fine arts, and he faces a multitude of opportunities and choices as his young life is just beginning. The two experience a powerful mutual attraction that leads to a hot sexual compatibility and then to love. However, Tony in particular worries about how much older than Josh he is and whether he can live with himself if he holds Josh back from exploring career opportunities which may involve relocating from Phoenix.

This novel has a lot going for it. The clear and poetic writing makes the harsh desert setting vivid and spectacular. Tony and Josh are appealing characters. Tony is contemplative and insightful and Josh is innocent and optimistic. They share some very hot sex scenes. In addition, they are both creative types and it’s fascinating to get the details on their jobs. Tony finds fulfillment as a landscape designer who works with the formidable climate restrictions of the water-starved desert. Josh paints desert landscapes, incorporating washes made from coffee into his watercolors. The result is a striking sepia tone.

My one tiny regret about the story is that the conflict facing our heroes is more internal than I normally prefer in that it centers on the age gap, which is of concern mainly to Tony. However, that’s not a big deal and won’t affect most readers, especially those who seek out contemporary romance. Tony and Josh’s story had so much to offer in terms of understated realism, character interaction, and flawless writing that it held my attention from start to finish.

Val for AReCafe ( )
  AReCafe | May 23, 2014 |
3 Stars. This book was okay. Nice, sweet romance between an older man and younger man. Not much angst or conflict. Good writing though. ( )
  vampkiss | Oct 23, 2013 |
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