Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: 2
Kate Aiello has spent her entire life trying to please others—her three brothers, her Italian mamma and her husband of twenty-five years. It isn’t insult enough she is turning fifty, and left at the side of life’s road by her philandering husband. Now she has to contend with her body’s betrayal…hot flashes!
The plain truth hits her with each thermostatic aberration—she has never been first in anyone’s life, including her own.
Brandon Sullivan has been on a downward spiral since the death of his beloved wife. Now he is a man desperate to save himself from impending financial ruin, loss of his farm and his life’s dream. He needs to get into the winner’s circle by spring or he’ll be just another poor, landless Irishmen downing his pints and bragging about the good ol’ days.
Sparks fly when Italian attitude meets Irish temper. Add two big crazy families, a barn full of horses and one woman’s menopausal hot flashes and the probability for combustion increases exponentially. What will Kate and Brandon risk for a second chance at love?
I truly enjoyed reading ‘Hot Flash’ by Clare Austin. Ms. Austin created some very loveable characters that people can relate to in so many ways. The reader gets so drawn into the storyline that you almost hate to have it end. In my honest opinion, Ms. Austin could do a sequel showing what happens in the future.
You can’t help but immediately relate to the character of Kate Aiello. She’s turning fifty, in the middle of menopause and recently dumped by her cheating husband after twenty-five years of marriage. The only bright point in the marriage is her daughter Laura who is away at college. The one thing Kate wins in the divorce that really irks her husband is a blue Beamer sports car. She gets new vanity plates for it ‘WS HS’ which stands for ‘was his’. It becomes a symbol of her life and a message to the world. Not to mention a great way to get back at her ex. She’s decided that she’s finally going to do something for herself for a change and take horseback riding lessons. Her mom, the typical Italian mother, lives in Newark, New Jersey, and constantly worries about Kate’s ability to take care of herself. Kate is the only girl in a family of four. Her other three brothers live in Newark, two are cops and the other is a priest.
Kate meets Brandon Sullivan in a scene remnant of a car insurance commercial. Seeing a squirrel in the middle of the road in front of her, she tries desperately to avoid hitting it. She gets rear-ended by a truck and ends up making the poor squirrel road kill. She immediately sees the ‘bloodied corpse as a bleak reminder of her own vulnerability.’ Brandon immediately thinks she’s from the loony bin. Of course he can’t help but later think about how the ‘screaming, weeping woman with the wild brown eyes and hair like a lion’s mane had taken his breath away, making it hard to collect his thoughts.’ Of course once she calms down she admits that Brandon ‘with his riveting sapphire eyes, chiseled jaw and lean body, was having a strange effect on her.’ They exchange insurance information and head off to their respective appointments which just happen to be with each other. Brandon Sullivan turns out to be her riding instructor. Since the car insurance is still under her married name of Catherine Waldron, he doesn’t realize it until she shows up at his farm Willow Creek with the battered Beamer. When he first sees her he almost falls off his horse. He mistakenly believes that she’s followed him to his place of business and starts a fight with her. His Irish temper is met by her Italian temper and the two collide but she still ends up taking lessons from him.
Brandon Sullivan is also turning fifty, with two children in college. He’s a widower having lost the love of his life, Fiona, two years earlier to cervical cancer. His sister Annie came over from Ireland when Fiona got sick to help them out emotionally and financially.
As Kate spends more time with Brandon, they become friends. She goes home for Thanksgiving and finds out that her mother has arranged to marry her off to a long distance cousin from Italy. He is coming to America to meet Kate and win her heart. When Sergio, the cousin shows up finding Brandon and Kate in what looks like a compromising situation, Kate introduces Brandon as her fiancé in an attempt to get rid of him. Brandon goes along with the façade which just rolls out of control. Before you know it Kate’s entire family wants to meet her fiancé and plan a wedding.
As Kate spends more time with Brandon, she develops feelings for him, but he still loves his first wife who was tragically taken from him. After being betrayed by the one man who promised to love her forever, can she ever trust another man? Both wonder if it is possible to have a second chance at love. Of course the added pressure of the fake engagement doesn’t help when Kate’s cop brothers threaten to kill the Irishman if he hurts their sister.
Hot Flash is a witty, funny, wonderfully crafted love story. It makes you laugh and cry and really earns the five + Tea Cups and a recommended read status.
5 Tea Cups and a Recommended Read!