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A Time to Keep by Curtiss Ann Matlock

On my hunt for May/December romance reads I came across this little charming book that was a reissue from the Harlequin Silhouette Intimate Moments line. Boy I'm glad I came upon this line! Right away it read like it could be a 50s movie starring a young Audrey Hepburn and an older William Holden and then I realized it had a very Sabrina type of feel to it even though the story was different.

Lauren Howard is a young women recovering from a car crash that ended in her gravely injured and ending her brother's life. She blames herself for it and for losing out on a rising dancing career. Despite the accident, Lauren keeps her compassion and strength while she works as a secretary for one of her mother's friends. She even continues dating a certain man who will lead her into the path of a man whose brother will soon capture her heart...

Jason Kenyon is a big business banker born of privilege. He lives in high society and living although he would much rather sit on the outside observing things around him. He hasn't dated much since his wife died, instead he's thrown himself into work and has shut down in a way. Until one day he sees a woman in a white coat across the way of his building. He tries to run and catch her but misses her. As fate would have it, he meets her again later as she is introduced as the date of his younger brother, Tony.

I loved the characters in A Time to Keep! Jason and Lauren are very much alike even from the start as they are more fitting as outside observers. They stand out from the surrounding characters like a splash of color against a black and white painting and their relationship builds from mild attraction and friendship to full on romance with ease.

Tony is the polar opposite as the younger brother. An extrovert all the way as the author describes him engaging the dinner party as "He was like an endearing small boy, who greedily took all the cookies and knew no one would scold him". While Jason is described to "hold an aura of quiet power. He didn't say a lot, but seemed content to sit back and observe, even prefer it".

I loved Ms. Matlock's way with words, description and characterization. I found myself wrapped up in their lives and rooting for them all the way as the story went on. I even was emotionally involved in ole Felice there who wanted to get her grubby, social climbing claws into Jason (and I didn't like her one bit).

I can't say I blame her. Jason is a dreamy hero and although he isn't "grr, me man you woman" all out Alpha, he's a quiet man but definitely not a pushover. He takes care of Lauren when she suffers a fall and although she wants to do things herself, he's quick to take things over and urge her to relax (with a nice gruff edge of urgency). He tells people what's what in a manner that gets the point across. Lauren is the same way which cements their perfect match.

I wish Ms. Matlock would have taken the time to show more of the dialogue and scenes. Sometimes it felt jumped and jarring when you're in one scene and then she describes their location in the next paragraph. Thankfully it's not a common occurrence in the book and considering it's a category, the time frame and focus is more quick.

In any event, this was a great read I'm definitely adding to my keeper shelf. I wish Harlequin would put all of their backlist in ebook format rather than focusing just on the current releases. There's a lot of goodies and considering the publishing company is going into its 60th year anniversary this year, it's a great way to celebrate their legacy.


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