Politics are tough and public image is everything for United States Senator Patrick Malendar of California. He’s up for re-election and his young Republican opponent is giving him a run for his money. To secure his seat, Malendar has hired Bracknell and Stevens to handle his PR campaign. But the big problem is what to do about Malendar’s errant son, Grady, a shameless playboy whose carousing is frequent fodder for the scandal-hungry media. Malendar knows his son is the key to the young demographic and he’s determined to whip Grady’s image into shape. Anything to help the vote. That’s his motto.
Meet Kate Galloway. She’s a rising star at Bracknell and Stevens and her boss knows she’s the solution to the Grady problem. But while Kate may be the best one for the job, she comes with a lot of romantic baggage and taming a wild playboy may be more than she can handle. It doesn’t help that Grady is a knock-down gorgeous charmer with ice-blue eyes, and as Ewens writes, “trouble in a linen shirt.” (What a great line!) Kate has a low tolerance for womanizers, and despite being divorced for two years, she’s still raw and shaky under her professional armor.
What a story setting! Romantic sparks fly from the get-go in Tracy Ewens’ latest modern romance. Ewens has taken Grady’s character from Premiere and put him in this wonderful story about a guy with a privileged past and a hard-working, but vulnerable Ivy Leaguer from a family of cops.
The attraction between Grady and Kate is undeniable, but, besides the required professional image, there are many personal barriers to their romance. Kate needs to let down her guard and move on with her life. It’s been two years since she left her cheating husband and she hasn’t even unpacked the boxes in her apartment! And Grady has his own issues. An unacknowledged rift between him and his father may be at the root of Grady’s reckless behavior. In addition, when Kate runs a background check she discovers some mysterious doings. Does this information point to the real Grady?
The story revolves around the senator’s campaign and it includes a full calendar of public appearances, during which Kate and Grady get to know each other. Their romance isn’t in fate’s hands, however. They will have to work to reach each other. Whether that’s possible waits to be seen.
I loved this story! It’s full of fun, tantalizing banter and romantic tension and lots of ups and downs. But Candidate isn’t all eye candy and fluff. Ewens tackles many serious subjects, including the price of public life, the damaging effects of family secrets, friendship, marriage and infidelity. While chance can set the stage, the key to love and happiness is making the right choices.
Here are a some of my favorite things about Candidate:
- Characters from Premiere make brief appearances and there are fun references to that storyline, but Candidate stands on its own and can be read independently.
- Great lines and some well-placed zingers invite readers to remember their own crazy highs and lows of the dating world.
- References to technology and social media are well-placed and make Candidate a realistic and modern story.
- Terrific descriptive scenes are easy to picture and follow. I can just imagine the Malendar’s backyard carnival and taste the cotton candy.
- A very moving chapter segment on Kate’s failed marriage makes the emotions of Candidate real.
A lot happens during the campaign and many details still hang after the election. Not to worry. Ewens finishes with a fantastic resolution that will not disappoint romantic readers. If you’re looking for a classy romance with substance, Candidate is a great choice!
I received an ARC to review Candidate, which will be released on June 23, 2015.
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