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When all else fails, find passion.
Even more new romances for readers who can't get enough of everyday heroes and for everyone who wanted more of the Rogue Desire Anthology...
Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review
I'm not sure where I've been but I was unaware of the the previous Rogue Desire Anthology but jumped at the chance to read the follow up, Rogue Affair. It features a series of short stories with a political or socially conscious slant to them, obviously a response to the current political climate. I've been slowly working my way through it - because of the nature of this anthology it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes which is why I've decided to break up my reading and share reviews for the first few stories I've read so far.
Such Great Heights by Adriana Anders
Of all the authors involved with this project, Adriana Anders is the one I'm most familiar with and the reason I wanted to read this anthology. Her story about a journalist who accompanies a veteran whose personal goal is to climb up a mountain in honour of his friend, a deceased soldier was a bit of a tearjerker for me. It brings attention to the plight of our veterans when they return from their tours and the challenges they face trying to assimilate into society. O'Neal Jones almost runs Kurt Anderson off the mountain before she recognizes that she and Kurt used to go to high school. Kurt, who was the superstar athlete back then is a man of few words now and O'Neal who is ever the curious journalist knows that there's a good story behind his crazy climb up the mountain in the cold. Their reconnection thaws him out a bit as they swap stories about what life's been like since school. It's a sweet story with heart and by the end, Kurt who's been feeling lost, seems to have found some direction and it just might include O'Neal.
Fallasies & Flirtations by Amy Jo Cousins
This is one of those stories where I thought, "Can something this happen IRL, please?" Chicago Mayor Anna Fowler is a former actress. She also happens to be bisexual but is currently single. Oscar Aranda is a much younger (by twenty years) speech writer who's brought in temporarily to help while her office faces their latest crisis. He has worshipped Anna for a long time and can't believe that he gets to be in her presence. She notices him too and realizes that he's smart and capable and yeah, good looking. This is my second Amy Jo Cousins story and I'm still getting used to her writing. It did enjoy this story (especially being set in Chicago). I liked that she gives us an older female protagonist who's proud of her sexuality and a younger man who's confident in himself that he's not threatened by a successful woman.
Dedication of a Lifetime by Tamsen Parker
My first Tamsen Parker story and I loved it! Sean is a dedicated school counselor who's always concerned for students' well-being. Isaiah is his medical researcher husband who is growing increasingly frustrated with the way the political climate is turning. All the recent wins the LGBTQ+ community have gained the last few years are being threatened and he doesn't know how to handle it so he retreats inside his head, leaving Sean to wonder what's happening to their marriage. This one felt most personal to me because even when you remove the fact that it's about a gay couple, the issues they're facing here - miscommunication, shutting each other out - they're things that can happen in any marriage or relationship. It just so happens here that their problems are being compounded by society saying their lifestyle is wrong. I love this couple and I was hoping they wouldn't fall apart. Anyway, I'll be reading more of Tamsen Parker in the future.
Personal Proposal by Ainsley Booth
Another new-to-me author. Brianne has to quit her job at a national park because she kind of went rogue on the job. Until the firestorm dies down, her boss has arranged for her to work for his photographer cousin, Astrid in Canada. It'll be good for Brianne to clear her head and figure out her next move. Astrid doesn't really need an assistant but is simply doing this as a favour for her cousin. She's not used to Brianne's sunniness and would like not to engage but she can't resist. The two of them work well together but it's the sparks that fly that has them caught off guard, until Brianne decides that she should just take that step forward.
Work of Heart by Olivia Dade
This was so blatantly about a certain political leader and his family. Jenny Meyers is an artist who's commissioned to do an official portrait. David Redi is a journalist who only needs to find that next big headline to launch him into the stratosphere. They happen to run into each other on the same assignment and when something shady happens that has alarm bells ringing in Jenny's head, she contacts him to give him the scoop. They just have to be careful with how they approach this because it could mean their credibility and careers on the line.
The President's Protector by Kris Ripper
President West forms a close bond with her Secret Service Agent, Agent Ruiz who is transgender. This was an unexpected story and I liked it very much. It really focuses on their growing friendship and a few little flirtations here and there. Being a widow, it's not beyond imagination that she'd be longing for companionship and intimacy. I liked how this was written and I thought their connection was genuine.
So there's my review of some of the stories in Rogue Affair so far. I don't often read anthologies but it's been a great way to introduce myself to some new authors. And I appreciate that they've come together to speak out about things they care about. Some of the stories land on the heavier side, so you might try my tactic and read them in small stretches. They're good stories and each of them with a lot of heart.