The life of Tony-winning musician Reese Matheson resembles a natural disaster, and caregiver Jude De La Torre is caught in the eye of the storm. But can the love of two opposites survive caring for an ornery octogenarian with wayward balls and a meddling family insistent upon tradition?
Fresh off the successful London run of his musical, the last thing Reese expects when he comes home is a house surrounded by paparazzi and his girlfriend throwing his stuff into the pool. All he wants to do is spend time with his beloved grandfather and musical mentor who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Reese knows he doesn’t have much time left before the elder Matheson forgets who he is. In classic “Hurricane Reese” form, he moves into the cottage by the sea and displaces Jude, the intriguing caregiver he hired two years before. When Grandpa proves too much for Reese to handle on his own, Jude comes to his rescue, taming Grandpa… and the Hurricane as well. Soon all Reese can think about is how to get Jude out of his scrubs and into his bed—permanently. Will Hurricane Reese destroy everything in his path, or will this odd couple learn to harmonize together?
Hurricane Reese is the result of many pieces coming together to create a funny and heartfelt romance. Those pieces include a beloved grandfather with Alzheimer’s disease, interracial dating in the LGBTQ community, musical theater, the Rat Pack days, and a new relationship with not only a power differential, but an age and cultural gap that threatens to halt any progress Reese and Jude make. Throw in an ex hell-bent on making Reese’s private life public, homelessness, a disappearing best friend, and a troubled younger brother and you have the natural disaster that is Hurricane Reese. Readers who enjoyed my self-published works like the Teacher trilogy and The Rock Season will find this new book a natural progression and new readers to my books will hopefully fall in love with Reese and Jude and the crazy families they bring along for the ride.
I haven’t read anything by R.L. Merrill before, but I knew when I read the description that I wanted to. And in a way I was not sorry, but more like I paid the price to read it. For the last six months, I’ve been dealing with something similar to what Reese was dealing with. My father had a couple of strokes, and has been left with some lingering effects that six months later we are still trying to manage, and cope with. So, reading about the deterioration of Grandpa and how Reese and Jude dealt with it, had me in tears more than once. I’ve felt some of the pain that Reese felt when my father didn’t recognize me. Or when he said things to me that were hurtful, because it was his disease talking and not him. So, I wasn’t sorry I read it, but my gosh, there were so many flashes of pain there, that it tells me that she hit me a little bit hard in the feels.
The story was well planned and thought out. The characters all written with such detail in their backstory, it really helped to understand things like why Jude struggled with coming out. The opposite side, you could see why Reese really didn’t give a fig about who knew what. There were pieces in the story that I certainly wasn’t expecting, but certainly made sense when you figure that stories like this don’t happen in a vacuum. As your characters are living their lives, so too are the other characters in the story living their own.
There were some areas that seemed a bit rushed, but I think that had more to do with the number of side stories rather than not wanting to hit those areas at all. It didn’t detract from the story, it just made me want just a little more length to some of the scenes where they are acknowledging and addressing their feelings.
In the end, I was happy to read this, and find a good way to address what has been a dark cloud looming over our family for a while. Reminding me that the world does continue to turn, and love continues to flourish, even during dark days was a great way to look at it overall.
4 pieces of eye candy
Once upon a time… a teacher, tattoo collector, mom, and rock ’n’ roll kinda gal opened up a doc and started purging her demons. Several self-published books and a debut gay romance with Dreamspinner Press later, R.L. Merrill is still striving to find that perfect balance between real life and happily ever after. She writes stories set in the places she loves most, such as Hollywood, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Northern California—and Iowa. Ro also loves connecting with other authors online, at the annual Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, and chapter meetings for the Romance Writers of America, of which she’s been a member since 2014.
A sucker for underdogs, Ro has adopted a wide variety of pets including cats, dogs, rats, a snake and fish. Her love of horror is evident the moment you walk in her door and find yourself surrounded by decorative skulls and quirky artwork from around the world. You can find her lurking on social media where she loves connecting with readers, educating America’s youth, being a mom taxi to two busy kids, in the tattoo chair trying desperately to get that back piece finished, or head banging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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