King of Hearts begins with waitress “Queen” Nadine seeing stagehand “King” Dave Faherty placed in a compromising position by his cow of an ex-wife. Upon discovering that Nadine is a witness to a potentially career-shattering event in the form of an orange spray-painted junk, he attempts to remove her from the situation. Thus begins a rather amusing series of events that throws these souls together.
Jennifer Stevenson returns once again to the staff of a Chicago-based stagehand company, wherein we also see a few characters from the first novel. This time around, Stevenson follows the reluctant romance of a down-and-out stagehand that has given up on his dreams after years of being told he is worthless and being used by many of the people around him. Nadine the runaway preacher’s daughter turned city waitress makes for a likable heroine, offering moral support and encouragement for him whilst at the same time dealing with her own troubled past. The progression of their relationship plays out wonderfully, showing how much these two characters complement each other.
There are numerous points of conflict that add to the story, making for an interesting read. Both have fathers that are somewhat oppressive figures. They are both estranged from their mothers. Dave is a divorcee dealing with a gold-digging ex-wife that uses their child as collateral. Dave has also become somewhat occupationally institutionalized after years working long hours with little in the way of real companionship apart from his best friend Bobbyjay Morton, the male protagonist from the first novel.
Of course, a lot of the conflict is created from the stupidity and misunderstanding of the characters, but it works perfectly for this romantic comedy. There are twists and turns, new things to discover about the characters.
The dialogue and internal monologue made me giggle at times, using language that added to the flavor of this tight-knit community of stagehands and their groupies. It is unconventional, to be sure, but Stevenson dares to write her characters as they speak and act. It made it easy to picture the story as it unfolded.
The sex scenes were sexy and cute, showing the differences in experience levels of the two protagonists. There was an element of discovery therein as well, and we got to see inside the heads of these two characters. We see the motivations and vulnerabilities of the two throughout. Did I mention that it was also pretty hot?
King of Hearts is a well-crafted story, with an often hilarious journey for Nadine and David. Though I highly enjoyed the first installment in the series Fool’s Paradise, the sequel added more conflict which made it slightly more enjoyable for me. The characters are likable and language added flavor of the setting. The sex was hot, but added to the story as a whole. It was well-paced and there was never a dull moment. In conclusion, King of Hearts is a must-read for a mature audience with a sense of humor and appreciation for naughty bits.
You can learn more about Jennifer Stevenson and her fiction by visiting herofficial website. You can pick up a copy of King of Hearts wherever good ebooks are sold.