Review: Romance and Intrigue Fill 'Sapphire Storm'

Christopher Verleger READ TIME: 2 MIN.

"Sapphire Storm," the third book in the compelling "Sapphire Cove" romance series from C. Travis Rice (pen name for Christopher Rice), introduces two men who seemingly have nothing in common, yet when their paths cross, not only is there an instant, undeniable attraction, but they also learn that they knew of each other in a previous life.

Ethan Blake is a former sex worker turned executive pastry chef at the Sapphire Cove resort on the coast of California. At the behest of his best friend, Donnie, a reluctant Ethan recently began perusing internet hookup sites, only to be rejected by a youngster who compares his 43-year-old self to a senior citizen. With a celebrity wedding on the resort's agenda, Ethan shrugs off the online interplay and returns his focus to the job that he loves and worked hard to obtain.

Roman Walker is a young fitness coach and internet influencer who made a name for himself as the personal trainer for soap opera icon, Diana Peyton, whose daughter, Rachel, a Tony award-winning actress, is about to get married at Sapphire Cove. As Diana's employee and Rachel's best friend, Roman schedules an appointment with Ethan, presumably to sample the wedding cake. After an awkward introduction, Ethan realizes they have seen each other before – when Roman was only seven and his father hired Ethan for services rendered.

Despite the age gap and their complicated connection, the two men are irresistibly drawn to each other. When the high-strung, albeit insecure, Roman finds himself in a problematic position with Rachel's fiancée, the nurturing, level-headed Ethan considers it his duty to look out for the younger gentleman and take him under his wing while risking everything he has achieved. In their own minds, both men recognize how unlikely a pair they would make, but the chemical reaction proves to be a force beyond their control.

Atonement is a recurring theme in each entry of this highly engaging series, in which individuals try to right the wrongs of their past and prove that, under the proper circumstances, change and growth are not only possible but inevitable. The romance between Ethan and Roman is slow to evolve while they both become better acquainted, which makes the outcome even more intense and fulfilling (and potentially heartbreaking) when they cast aside their caution for passion.

While romance is always at the forefront of Sapphire Cove, the underlying plot of "Sapphire Storm" offers plenty of excitement and intrigue, as well as humor. Ethan and Roman have an enviable network of friends whose loyalty proves invaluable, which speaks to their character and integrity – and makes for an especially memorable, enjoyable novel.

"Sapphire Storm" is available now from Blue Box Press.

by Christopher Verleger

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.

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