Playing with Fire

Deborah Fletcher Mello. Kensington/Dafina, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-1-61773-776-3
In the first Sultry Southern Nights contemporary, set in Raleigh, N.C., Mello (Craving Temptation) delivers a fascinating tale of family deception while looking inside the soul of a man who grew up without a father. “Romeo” Marshall got his nickname as a child, and earned it as a handsome man: his appealing, easy demeanor has women hanging on him. He enjoys his love-them-and-leave-them ways until he meets world traveler Taryn Williams at the jazz and blues club Romeo owns. After an old piano player wanders into the club, Romeo hires him, and they learn to respect each other through their discussions of race relations and marriage. Mello lectures the reader on alcohol, counseling, and parenting, giving short shrift to the romance between Romeo and Taryn. Fans of blues music will appreciate the references sprinkled throughout the story, but the prose is more purple than blue: a man does not so much brush his teeth as “polish the pearly formation within his mouth.” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 02/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 405 pages - 978-1-4104-7982-2
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