Ingrid Crawford isn’t the careless flapper everyone thinks she is. In fact, she’s carrying around a heavy load, thanks to her loose-fisted father who’s gambled the family fortune away. While moonlighting at the Tease, she meets a man who might get her out of her financial troubles for good.
Jovanis Koulis is a Greek immigrant who works as a courier, but he strives for much more. While visiting a burlesque joint, he is hit by Cupid’s arrow in the worst way when he lays eyes on the Veiled Vixen. Though he doesn’t tell the fair lady who he really is, he lets her believe what she wants…until he meets her face-to-face days later and neither are who they thought they were.
Will they be able to live up to each other’s expectations without finding themselves in hot water first?
Publisher and Release Date: Wild Rose Press, July 2015
Time and setting: Chicago, 1925
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by Vikki
Love Hard is the second book I have read by Roe Valentine, having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first in this series, Love Easy
Ingrid Crawford, a fashion reporter for the Chicago Daily News during the day and a burlesque dancer by night, is weighed down with a terrible burden. Her father’s investment firm has lost a great deal of money. She is trying to keep her family afloat, but without much success, since they continue to spend money on a lifestyle they can no longer afford.
When Jovanis Koulis, a Greek immigrant and a courier, has a chance for an encounter with the beautiful burlesque dancer known as Vixen, he takes advantage of it, never imagining the one-night stand could turn into so much more.
When fate brings two lovers together, can two such different individuals manage to bridge the gulf between their two worlds, or will circumstances and obligations keep them apart forever?
Love Hard is a very fast-paced story with unique characters and an even stranger story line. I can honestly say this is the first romance I’ve ever read where the hero becomes a fledgling mobster and the heroine deadens her life disappointments through cocaine and alcohol. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like very a romantic novel, but I promise you that it is. There’s a great love story buried underneath that is well worth reading.
Ms. Valentine’s research into the Roaring 20s is excellent and certainly sets the stage for this book. From her vivid descriptions of the costumes to the sleazy décor of the burlesque club, she brings life to this astonishing story. She has the lingo of this time completely down and it pulled me in completely, giving me a glimpse of what it must have been like for women who have been given a taste of more freedom than was allowed their staid parents.
I found Jovanis’ character fascinating. His determination to win Ingrid’s heart is fierce, and his willingness to go to any lengths for her took my breath away.
If you’re looking for a read that’s rather different from the average, then Love Hard is sure to delight you. I know I certainly enjoyed it from the first page to the last. I always enjoy a satisfying ending that ties everything up with a pretty bow, and this one does that exceedingly well.