(originally from All About Romance)
2006, Contemporary Romance
Triskelion, $4.99, Amazon ASIN 1933874597
Three things about me that readers should know:
- I live in Australia
- I work in a Children’s Hospital
- I absolutely adore Best Friend Romances
Three major plot points about Photo Opportunity:
- It’s set in Sydney
- The hero decides to change his life after spending time in a children’s cancer ward by:
- Seducing his best friend and making her fall in love with him.
So, as you can probably tell, this hot little e-book by Jessica Dee hit all the right buttons.
Daniel is a talented photographer who has been in love with Amy since he first met her at the age of fourteen. However, with a wisdom beyond his years, he recognized that teenagers don’t make life-long commitments – they barely make month long commitments. So he committed to being the next best thing – her best friend. He’s always known that he was destined to be with Amy, so has never taken any other relationship seriously. He’s been biding his time until Amy realizes what he’s always known – they were meant to be.
Amy, conversely, is a counselor at a fertility clinic, and has absolutely no intention of falling for her best friend. In Amy’s life, lovers leave. Best friends, however, are honor-bound to stick around. She’d rather ignore the pull of desire every time she sees Daniel than run the risk of not having him in her life. Besides, Daniel is a complete commitment-phobic; he’s never had a girlfriend for longer than a month. He loves and leaves, just like every man, and she refuses to be the next in a long line of conquests. Even if he is really, really, scorchingly hot.
Daniel’s ploy is simple. He’s going to make Amy see him differently. He gets his sister, his family, his friends, anyone he can to help, then sets the whole plan in motion. The plot is somewhat predictable from here. The planned seduction is a well-used story, after all. It’s the emotions and the characters that make the difference, and Lee handles these with care. Amy’s fear of rejection and gun-shy manner contradicts Daniel’s assurance easily, and the resulting conflict is both real and genuine. There is a “big misunderstanding”, but it’s neither drawn out, nor unbelievable, and the characters don’t run away from it – a refreshing change from other stories.
The seduction is also hot. The sexual tension begins with the first sentence, and doesn’t let up through the whole story. Because Daniel is determined not to sleep with Amy until she admits she loves him too, Dee must keep the tension high without succumbing to the final act. As a result, the teasing and the tantalizing just gets deeper and deeper until the pages practically sizzle.
Dee doesn’t rely on sex, though, to keep the story going. The secondary characters and plot lines are also satisfying. The use of a children’s cancer ward is guaranteed to pull on heartstrings, but Dee doesn’t take advantage. Children in romance novels can be overwritten and slip into diabetes-inducing sweetness, but there is no such downslide here. Each character is there for a reason, and they play their part with veracity.
Photo Opportunity is a solid story, with a sexy seduction and a sweet story. Those of us who have a thing for best friend stories will love it; those who don’t will develop one before they reach the last page.