Before we get into why I enjoyed this book so much, let’s first look at the book by blogging friend Sadira Stone (some of you might know her by another name, wink-wink). Oh, this is steamy romance — not meant for my younger readers!
Available November 14, 2018 from The Wild Rose Press
Tagline: Letting him inside could be her salvation…or her undoing.
Clara Martelli clings to Book Nirvana, the Oregon bookshop she and her late husband Jared built together. When rising rents and corporate competition threaten its survival, her best hope is their extensive erotica collection, locked behind a red door. In dreams and signs, her dead husband tells her it’s time to open that door and move on. When a dark and handsome stranger’s powerful magnetism jolts her back to life and he wants a look at the treasures of that secret room, she can’t help but want to show him more.
Professor Nick Papadopoulos is looking for historical erotica. Book Nirvana’s collection surpasses his wildest dreams, and so does its lovely owner. A widower, he understands Clara’s battle with guilt, but their searing chemistry is too strong to resist. Besides, he will only be in town for two weeks, not long enough for her to see beyond the scandal that haunts his past.
Probably just one of those guys who flirt with everyone. Thinking of him that way made it easier to face the prospect of seeing him again when he came for the rest of the books on his list. She knew in her bones she was not ready for a— what, a fling? A flirtation? A hot tumble among the naughty books? Her body’s fevered response to Nick felt like a betrayal to Jared. But the thought of running her hands along Nick’s tawny skin warmed her in places that had been too cold for too long.
The amber flecks in his eyes danced in the candlelight. Their glow drew the truth out of her like a magnet tugging metal. Deep breath. Just ask. He won’t bite.
“Nick, how did you know when it was time?”
“To move on. To let someone in.”
He shifted away, but the saggy sofa cushion slid him back against her thigh. “Can’t fight gravity.” He chuckled and draped his arm across her shoulders. “Honestly, my body was ready before my heart was. Even if the heart is withered, nearly dead, the body goes on—eating, breathing, feeling, wanting.” He fingered a strand of her hair, his gaze far away. “A friend saw how closed off I’d become, and she…helped me.”
“By seducing me. There was wine involved, and music. She wouldn’t take no for an answer.” He cupped her shoulder. “And I’m so glad she didn’t.”
Avoiding his penetrating gaze, Clara focused on the flickering candles. “Did you love her?”
“Not really. And yet—yes, very much.”
“You see, I’ll never love anyone the way I loved Diana. She was unique in all the world. But she wouldn’t want me to spend the rest of my life pining for her, miserable, alone. My friend helped me see it’s okay to enjoy my life. She helped me realize that one day I might even love again. She told me it’s not something you can rush, but it will come in time if you relax and open your heart.”
About the Author:
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. But it wasn’t until her 50s that she tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at www.sadirastone.com.
Of course, I wanted to know what inspired the author to write the book. Here’s her answer.
Inspiration for the book:
Until last year, I was one of those readers–you know, literary snobs who look down their noses at romance for the usual stupid reasons: too corny, too predictable, too fluffy. After finishing another (as yet unpublished) mystery manuscript, I read a few online articles about how fun and lucrative writing erotica can be. I thought, what the heck? Let’s try.
I have never had so much fun with a writing project! It nearly wrote itself, though it damned sure didn’t edit itself. And now, my first contemporary romance Through the Red Door is coming out from The Wild Rose Press on November 14th! I’ve totally immersed myself in the world of romance, gobbling books like popcorn, filling my ears with romance podcasts, and joining the Romance Writers of America. I find this genre excellent psychic self-defense against the current political poop-storm. At least in these stories someone will have a happy ending.
Why set the series in a bookshop? Ever since I was a wee lass, I dreamed of owning one. Add to that my fascination with historical erotic art and literature, and you’ve got the Book Nirvana series, set in an indie bookshop with an extensive erotica collection behind a locked red door.
I love stories in which a couple’s powerful physical attraction leads them to consider a partner outside their usual M.O.—one who just might turn out to be their perfect match. That’s how it happened for my husband and me, and my romance fiction contains that element.
I sort of pulled the setting out of a hat. I live in Washington State, and wanted to set my series in a college town. I’ve heard that Eugene, Oregon is a great one with a lively arts scene and a continuing counterculture legacy from the hippie era. After touring the city via online research, correspondence, and Google Earth, I finally made the trip. Eugene is even lovelier than I’d imagined. Kate Rock, a resident author, kindly shared her knowledge of the city’s history and the flavor of the different neighborhoods. I look forward to many return trips.
Awesome, right? So here’s my review from Goodreads.
An engaging read. If you want to know the plot – check out the blurb, all the important things are there.
I liked that it was about a woman who had already lived a full life, yet wasn’t ready to give up on love just because she became a widow.
Very steamy from the start…
And the books! The way the bookstore is described just makes one want to go and live there.
I love this line “…taking a chance on me. For listening to your heart instead of your fear.”
A well-written romance by Sadira Stone.
*Oh, I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Go and get your copy! Anything you’d like to ask the author?