Reading involves travel, and if you aren’t from Australia, Propositions, by Tania Joyce, will give you a chance to feel and learn a bit about the “Land Down Under.” The writing isn’t defined by its involvement with the country, but an exotic backdrop always helps. In this romance we are introduced to Nate Somers first, a workaholic British hotelier who lost his wife and child to his inability to be available. We know this man’s character when his young daughter pleads over the phone, “when will I see you, daddy,” and he says, “in a few months.” Which proves money doesn’t buy you any emotional sense.
Propositions heroine, Jessica Mason, has her own ex-lover in the background, and eventually he returns for an encore, but this story centers on Jess and Nate, two budding business associates who dabble in off-hours work together. Jessica knows better, “Like indulging in too much chocolate cake, then feeling guilty, she was riddled with shame. If anyone found out that she’d slept with Nate, especially Alex, they’d be furious. She knew the golden rule not to mix business with pleasure. It always caused problems.”
Of course, everyone knows that rule, but in romance novels, the rule is usually more of a guideline. The plot of the book is leisurely, like going to the bar and hanging with your girlfriend to catch-up on the latest gossip. There’s lots of eating, drinking, and the expected sexy, slow-burn to love-making that the title and book cover promise. There are also the expected twists and bumps in the night (not those) that cause everyone to question their motives and their sanity.
The writing itself is good, usually fluid but occasionally meted out in a staccato fashion. Characters come and go, sometimes only in the usual fashion with some baggage of their own and an occasional idiosyncrasy that delineates them from the plot at hand and the other passengers on this voyage. There is a subtle plot in the background, but this is a book perfect for an evening read or to grab at the bookstore as you surge through the passenger terminal on the way to your air flight. All-in-all, an easy, enjoyable read.