A sultry lounge singer, curvy and red-haired and running away from love with a vengeance. A millionaire hotelier, nicknamed “Golden Boy” who has a way with the ladies but yearns for something deeper. No, this isn’t the opening scene in a film noir. It’s the set-up for Jennifer Gracen’s “More Than You Know,” that left me wanting to know a whole lot more. And Gracen doesn’t disappoint. The story swings into action in the first few pages. Dane Harrison is looking for just the right headliner for his new luxury hotel, and he’s set his sights on Julia Shay. But she’s a lot harder to convince than he anticipates, intriguing him and the reader as well. Who is this mysterious woman with so much to give and so much to lose? And how will a man with the wrong kind of past find the right way to win her heart?
The first installment of The Harrisons series, the book is a fast read. The plot moved along at a breathless pace, with just enough turns to keep me guessing until the final pages. It’s unusual for me to find a contemporary romance that is so deft in weaving a dark story with such a light touch, giving the characters depth and quirks and reasons for why they are so broken, and so hopeful, and so desperate and deserving of love. That being said, the book is also full of lines that made me laugh out loud. Gracen has a quick wit, and it shines throughout the story. Her delicate and devilish sensibility is also evident during love scenes. What happens behind Gracen’s locked hotel room doors is borderline criminal. But as steamily as she writes of frenzied unbuckling and fingernails raking, she hits the sweet spot as well with soft, lingering kisses and quiet moments of joy.
Gracen has hit a high note with “More Than You Know,” a silly, sweet, sensual symphony of love and desire. And it has me vibrating with anticipation for “Someone Like You,” the next story in The Harrisons series. I have a feeling I’ll be singing its praises as well.
Find out more about Jennifer Gracen and her books at jennifergracen.com