Keelan came back to chat to us earlier this year, to talk about her latest book. Find out more about Keelan and her work on Episode 061: Keep Your Word Count Up!
Keelan has veered away from ghost stories with this city romance between Ethan, bisexual, closeted presenter for a conservative cable news programme, and Charlie, who is Ethan’s daughter’s first grade teacher. Ethan has been obliged to take the job at the programme so he can be near his daughter, who has been taken to New York to live by his ex-wife. Charlie is commitment-phobic and fiercely independent. Brief hook-ups with closeted celebrities suit him just fine, but neither of them expected to fall in love.
So that’s the setup. Firstly, a couple of niggles, nothing to do with the writing, which is consistently great. I trust Ellis to be technically spot on and she is here as well. First niggle is with Ethan, who has left a successful job in Philly to take a position with a cable company that has totally different ideals to his own, and is regularly disparaging to the LGBT community. He is their star performer, regularly spouting things he doesn’t agree with. He says he does it purely to be with his daughter, but I can’t help wondering if any LGBT person would do this.
Number two is Charlie, the first grade teacher who very rapidly hooks up with Ethan, despite being the teacher in charge of Ethan’s child. That’s unprofessional at best, yet the school don’t seem to have an issue with it when it all comes out. I’m English, so I know what would happen here. It’s not an LGBT issue. It’s a professional issue. Maybe in the States it’s different.
Like I said, these are niggles that wouldn’t go away for me, but in the end, they didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this book. If, like me, you can push through them, you will be rewarded with a sexy, emotional love story, with some unpredictable twists and turns.
And this is what Ellis does best; throwing a curve ball into the mix just as you think this is going to go the way of many romances. It doesn’t. Ethan does come across as a bit of an ass at times, but he’s a wonderful father and his daughter is cute as a teddy bear. His ex is also a great character, flawed as well so you can see why the marriage didn’t make it, but decent, and a decent ex in a romantic novel is a rare thing indeed. In a way, her main flaw is interfering with the best of reasons. She was cleverly drawn and I liked her. So often, the ex is someone to boo and hiss at, but not here. The villain of the piece is the Fox-alike cable company Ethan works for, with a boss so vile I wanted to punch him.
Charlie is also an interesting character. First school teachers, especially male ones, can be exotic creatures. No-one really knows why they choose to spend their time with loathsome oiks, when they could be doing important things like being captains of industry, or firefighters, or heart surgeons. I thought he was totally convincing, very likeable despite his phenomenal ability to make poor life choices. The chemistry between him and Ethan, from the first fumbling, drunken encounter to the realisation that they both care for each other, is genuinely touching and well-balanced.
And finally, Ellis has really upped her game in the sex scenes. The others were good. These are great, tender and hot as prime beefsteak. That’s all I’m saying…