Monday, December 5, 2011

CIAO BELLA by Empress LaBlaque

Publisher: Whisper Publishing
Date published: September 16, 2011
ISBN: Not Assigned
Interracial Romance
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.

Treva Reece has a new boss, Gavin Hess. Unfortunately, he turns out to be the same gangster who killed her brother, Theo. As former leader of the Inner City Warriors, Hess is ruthless and cold, in her opinion. And having him replace the former VP of Superior Technologies, a man who was easy to work for and easy to please, is the last thing Treva wants. Finding Hess a repulsive thug, she is strongly considering ‘getting out of Dodge’ as quickly as possible.

But try as she might, Treva cannot ignore her strong attraction to Hess. He is sleek, and muscular, and built like a stallion. Despite this, Treva tries convincing herself that she dislikes him immensely. Unfortunately, she soon finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place when co-workers starts buzzing around, intent on snagging Hess for themselves, in one way or another.

It isn’t until Hess steps in to halt the sexual harassment of Treva by one of her annoying co-workers that Treva begins having doubts about her boss. Soon, all she has ever believed of him draws her into a confused, passionate relationship with an enemy she is helpless to avoid.

As their relationship grows, it is then the barriers between them crumble, and the truth regarding her brother’s death is revealed. As Treva lays aside her negative feelings toward Hess, she is surprised to discover the kind, considerate person he truly is. A strong man who, despite their racial differences, will stand by her forever and love her the way she truly deserves.

CIAO BELLA by Empress LaBlaque is a charming love story between two individuals, from different backgrounds and different races. It is fast-paced, with snappy dialogue. Since it is set in a modern office, it is easy for the reader to relate to.

I loved how Ms. LaBlaque set the stage in CIAO BELLA. The hero and heroine, Treva and Gavin, lead two separate lives, yet Ms. LaBlaque skillfully weaves them together. This adds to the conflicting and sometimes confused feelings between our two main characters.

I find both Treva and Gavin very likeable and enjoyed how they were brought together. Treva’s inner display of seething anger at having Gavin arrive as her new boss was fun to read and brought a great deal of interesting happenings to CIAO BELLA. And the unique, interesting personality of Treva’s unwanted boss added a lot of spark which kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.

The other, various characters were well-written and added spice to this story of forbidden love between a woman of color and a man of Italian ancestry. They, too, added some fun and understandable conflict to CIAO BELLA, especially when Gavin’s mother enters the story and quickly shares her nasty attitude and personality with Treva.

I was surprised, however, that Treva jumped into bed with Gavin so quickly. I believe that more could have led up to that happening. A little more tension between them would have been a good thing before they actually fulfilled their desire for one another. Overall, I do understand why it was written as it was. It just seemed to lack the sexual tension one would normally expect during that point in the lives of the hero and heroine.

Gee-gee was a pleasant surprise I never saw coming and gives credence to Ms. LaBlaque’s talents as a writer.

I thoroughly enjoyed CIAO BELLA. I would recommend it to anyone in need of some romance, a bit of afternoon delight, and a light, fast-paced read.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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