Tender Triumph by Ruth Roberts

TENDER
Tender Triumph by Ruth Roberts
Publisher: Prism Book Group
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After a very public divorce from her billionaire Italian husband, Natalia Montalvo returns home to New York City to lick her wounds and try to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. So why did she agree to attend a charity ball, especially when she knew her ex would be there? When he arrives with his newest love interest, she feels all the pieces she had managed to put together crumbling again.

Jared, owner of the largest, most prestigious architectural firm in the country, rubs elbows daily with the rich and powerful. He can’t stand them. After one too many altercations with a client, his head of public relations forces him to attend the annual charity ball, to schmooze and make nice with the people whom his business depends on. His mission is simple: smile, be friendly, and bid on a few high dollar items in the auction. Thirty minutes after arriving, he was already clenching his jaw and looking for a quick exit. On the balcony, he encounters Natalia Montalvo. He can’t ignore a woman in need, especially when that woman is his best friend’s sister. He devises a plan to save her pride, and in the process save his evening. But, can he convince her to give him more than one night?

Natalia Montalvo has been divorced for a year. Even though she knew her ex would attend the charity ball, she needed to prove to herself she just didn’t care anymore. After settling that old demon she goes onto the balcony for some air. Jared hated the fakeness of these events – people who smile charmingly at your face then rip into you viciously behind your back. Just as ruthless as many of them, Jared never pretended to be something he was, and he hated the masks so many others wore. Escaping to the balcony, he and Natalia meet each other and strike up a conversation. Sparks sizzle between them, and suddenly both Natalia and Jared are very glad they came to the ball.

I really enjoyed this short story. I love how the author doesn’t rush the meeting or getting-to-know-you period between Natalia and Jared. We’re privy their conversation and the slow build of chemistry between them. Unlike many other books, this one doesn’t skimp on how Natalia and Jared are coming together – there’s no rush to “seal the deal” but a gradual progression that is refreshing to read.

There are no real surprises in the plot, but that’s not really what I took away from this book. It’s the characters, their interactions and how two people can overlook their pain and trust once again in their heart. Even though the plot was simple, I enjoyed Natalia’s revenge of walking back into the ballroom with such a handsome, charming man on her arm. Even though the pace of the story is a tad slow, this is a lovely book with vibrant descriptions of how Natalia and Jared meet, come together and start that slow, romantic path toward love. It’s an excellent, romantic story with only hints of teasing and chaste kisses – perfect for those who prefer their romance slow and sensual.

I found this to be an interesting and romantic story, filled with richly drawn characters and an easy, relaxed pace. One of those stories you can share with friends and family alike – not one you need to hide away – it’s a wonderful start to what I’m sure will be a long-lasting, romantic and loving relationship. Chaste but still sensual and full of electric chemistry, I think this will appeal to a wide range of readers. Recommended.

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