Sunday, April 15, 2012

After Hours by M. L. Rhodes

Not only does Grace Krantz's new next door neighbor keep strange hours, he also has a seriously erotic habit. Is he as sexy and masterful as he sounds through the paper-thin walls of their adjoining apartments? And who exactly is he speaking to during all those lusty encounters she overhears? The man's sex talk is hot enough to set the building on fire, not to mention Gracie's long-suffering libido.
The more she eavesdrops on him, the hotter she gets. But the truth of her hidden sex god's identity might just shock Grace...and could also put her in more than a little danger. Because you never can be sure what really goes on after hours...

Reviewer: avidscribe
28 year old single Grace Krantz fantasizes about the man next door, the one with the sexy baritone voice and the even sexier dialog she’s been listening to each evening before she falls asleep. Asleep? Who's she kidding? She is going to bed exhausted from this man and he hasn't even touched her yet. Her apartment walls are thin and she can hear him, night after night, seductively talking to one lucky woman on the phone. WHO is the woman he’s talking to that way? His words are sensual, scorching and wild. Grace has always thought she wanted a nice guy, someone low key and dependable but her best friend Lena tells her that what she really needs is a good screwing with a bad, bad boy. You know the type, a man to make your eyeballs roll back in your head. No, not for her. No way, no how.

Though, she blushes even admitting it to herself, Grace would die to be this man’s woman, to have him worship her with such awe and unrestrained love. Her body pulses from head to toe as his voice rolls over her each night and it's all she can do not to knock on his door and surrender herself to him. Her imagination runs wild wondering what he looks like but she's yet to run into him and it's driving her crazy.

33 yr old Ryan Colvin knows everything about Grace. 5’2”, eyes of blue, a brunette travel agent with a dog she sweet talks and she sings off-key in her shower. He should. He’s a police detective who is undercover trying to catch a serial stalker who has been meeting men through personal ads for phone sex. The stalker has become dangerous, her behavior escalating to the point of tracking the men down and harassing and raping them. She needs to be caught before she kills someone.

During a dark and stormy night, Grace is out walking her dog and the lights go out in her building. Fumbling her way back into her hallway, she drops her key when her dog bumps her. She's cold, wet, scared and in the dark. She starts to cry. Neighbor to the rescue.

Once in her apartment, he sits with her on the couch and a back rub leads to a chaste kiss which leads to ... and leads to ... and leads to! It's feelings she didn't know were possible, heights she didn't know existed and he is equally as smitten. For them both, it's been a long dry spell between relationships and they'd both about given up hope of ever finding happiness with anyone else.

In the dim grey of morning, with faces still indistinct, she wakes and feels vulnerable. He hasn't left and tells her there is no one else in his life and whatever she is thinking is wrong and she shouldn't even try to guess about his situation. He can't tell her anything without blowing his cover. Feeling the way he does towards her has already made it a mandate that he find another apartment to continue his work in. However, he is desperate to cleave to what they have, what they've shared. He admits he knows she's been listening to his phone conversations. Admits, too, he's been talking for the last two weeks to her as his fantasy object in them. He tells her she's stolen his heart and to hold onto the belief that what transpired over the last few hours together was real. He tells her he must go away for a week or two but he will return. He asks her to wait for him. And as the grey dawn gives way to a pale yellow sun and she sees his face for the first time, she nods and tells him yes, she will wait. She will trust him.

But it's four long weeks later and it's hard to hold onto the trust. She hasn't heard from him and her landlord tells her his apartment is up for rent because he didn't renew his month-to-month lease. She is distraught. That night she hears muffled noises in his apartment. Furniture being moved. He's back! She rushes out her door ...

A nice moment:
His warm chuckle filled her ears, and yet another chunk of ice broke off and fell into the swirling sea of her emotions, to be swallowed up and melted.
For a short story, it packs a nice punch. The writer gives us both POVs at different moments of the book so we can dip inside the characters' heads and feel along with them. I think the only thing I'd wished there had been more of is the escalation of tension pursuing this serial stalker. 3 stars out of 5.

Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC


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