ABOUT THE BOOK:
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.
For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.
The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…
Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.
Passion on Park Avenue is the first book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne. The story has a fun, flirty, ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it; it centers around three New York City women who meet when they learn they had each been in a relationship with a now-deceased man. These three – Naomi, Claire and Audrey – are all smart and beautiful and vow to become friends instead of letting the cheating playboy come between them.
‘Passion on Park Avenue’ features Naomi Powell who is the founder of a billion dollar company. One of the things I loved most about this light and sexy novel is that the author is intimately familiar with New York City. I loved the metropolitan setting! (One of my pet peeves is when an author tries to set a story in a place they know nothing about and have done no research.) Naomi grew up in extreme poverty when her mother was fired from her housekeeping job by a wealthy Park Avenue matron, because Naomi’s mother was having an affair with her husband. Naomi and her mother, who lived in the apartment, were kicked out and bounced around from various places. As a child, Naomi was best friends with Oliver, the son, who lied when confronted about his father’s affair and Naomi never got over the betrayal.
So when the chance to live in the very same Park Avenue building comes up, Naomi takes it, even though can live anywhere she wants. But what she wants is revenge on Oliver for the long-ago betrayal.
This book has a lot of heart and soul which elevates it above many contemporary romances. Oliver was a very well-rounded character. He was not the complete jerk that Naomi remembers. He is now bearing the burden for caring for his ailing father and he truly does not recall Naomi. All he knows is that she is really getting under his skin!
”Naomi Powell had brought him back to life, made him realize that he hadn’t died with his mom, or with his father’s diagnosis; he’d just been living that way.”
This was a relatively low-angst story which is perfect if you need to escape for a few hours into a well-written, frothy romance. The enemies-to-lovers trope is very well done by Ms. Layne. The love scenes fade to black so this is not an explicit romance, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I also enjoyed the subplot about Naomi getting her own reality television series which I hope will be explored in more detail in the future books.
“Naomi’s face tilted to his, and for a moment Oliver’s breath caught with an unfamiliar sensation. Want, yes. Desire, sure. But this moment was different. Fuller somehow, as though this woman belonged to him not just for right now, not just for a night, but for always…”
This was my first book my Lauren Layne and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light, adult romantic comedy. The cover for the second book in the series, ‘Love on Lexington Avenue’, has already been released and it is beautiful! I am very much looking forward to reading Audrey and Claire’s stories.
(ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)