Lust on the Rocks

Lust on the Rocks, by Dianne Venetta, is the perfect kind of story to read on a rainy afternoon. There’s more than enough drama to keep you turning pages to see what happens next. And there is a happily ever after–but the characters do grow and change, and going on their journey with them is very satisfying.

Samantha Rockwell is the best friend of Dr. Jennifer Hamilton, whose story is told in Jennifer’s Garden (also very much worth reading!) Sam is a high-powered attorney at a prestigious law firm in Miami, and is one case away from making partner.

The case that she’s sure will make her the first female partner in the firm’s history is Perry Fitness. It’s a corporate lawsuit for major damages. Perry was negligent, and a customer died on the premises. His widow is Sam’s client.

Sam starts with two issues. Her mentor wants her to take one of the firm’s new associates as co-counsel in the case, in addition to her usual teammate. The partner is pushing, hard, for Vic Marin to be on Sam’s team. Sam can tell that Raul has a hidden agenda, but she’s not sure if he’s testing her partnership potential, or trying to scuttle it. And Sam finds Vic way too much of a temptation, all on his own. Their sexual chemistry could cause her enough distraction without any other “sidebars”.

And Perry Fitness is definitely “dirty”. There have been other deaths, other negligence claims. The question is whether to just go for damages, or to go for a criminal prosecution. Sam’s client wants the whole thing to be over so she can move on with her life. Vic wants to go for the manager of Perry Fitness with everything he has, because Vic has a hidden agenda of his own. One that should have kept him off the case. And Vic also has a not-so-hidden agenda. He wants Sam, possibly forever.

The question is, what does Sam want? Partnership, or love? She’s always wanted a partnership. She’s been working for it since day one. Love has never even been on her radar. Sam’s never believed she could have it all, and has always focused on what she was sure she could get. What if that isn’t enough?

Escape Rating B: I inhaled Jennifer’s Garden and Lust on the Rocks in two days. I got absorbed in the characters and the setting and really felt for them.

I have a soft spot for romances with an older woman/younger man theme. This one did a nice job playing with that without going over the top.

One story element that pushed it into the realm of fantasy was Sam’s previous relationship behavior combined with her being a lawyer on the fast-track at her firm. While I couldn’t help but admire her ability to not just flirt with, but catch, every man she wants, the idea that her employer knew about her exploits made me think that in real life, she wouldn’t be on the fast track. I think the double standard unfortunately still applies.

There’s a secondary plot in Lust on the Rocks about Sam’s younger sister Jess. I won’t spoil the story any further, but Jess has some very rough decisions to make. Her choices have consequences, and all of them are long-term. There wasn’t an easy out for her, and the story showed her struggle. It also highlighted some of Sam’s issues. Sam wanted to fix things for her, and had an extremely difficult time not taking over.

Lust on the Rocks will be out on October 19. Look for it!