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The Tipsybibliophile

I love cheap and tasty wine, reading stories about men falling in love and making good food…Here is where I mix all three.

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Where There's Smoke - L.A. Witt 3.75 Stars

This is just the kind of romance I like to read. Creative, smart, sexy, and funny.

This for sure is one of my favorites books by LA Witt, she did a fantastic job with her characters, and as for taking a chance on writing a novel with a political theme, she did VERY WELL. I always cringe when I read premises that seem to amibitious, mostly because too often they only end up as background. Books with politicians, cowboys, firemen, they are useful and appealing when reading the blurb, but when you get to the actual story the characters are so generic they could be ANYBODY. That was not the case in this story, these characters were well very done and believable not just in their love story, but also in who they were supposed to be.

Anthony Hunter manages campaigns for political candidates. He is the man to go to if you want to get elected in the State of California. Senator Roger Cameron and ex-client of Anthony's hires him to manage his nephew Jesse's bid for Governor of California.

Jesse is an unknown in the political world, but as one of the heir's to one of the most iconic families in Hollywood he is not exactly low profile. Jesse has a wild child past, but these days is known more for having a solid marriage with one of the most loved actresses in Hollywood.

Jesse is gourgeous and as soon as Anthony meets him, he knows that he might just be at risk of once again falling for a man that is completely unavailable. He soon finds out that there a few things that don't quite fit between Jesse and his wife Simone. He learns that everything about the marriage is just a facade. Jesse and Simone love each other sure, but Jesse in not in love with his wife. Jesse is gay, and planning to divorce Simone once the campaing is over.

Once it's clear that things between Anthony and Jesse, and how they feel about each other will complicate everything even further, it is only a matter of time before the whole charade is out in the open, and everyone's lives is changed. This book had a great balance of tension and sedateness. I was on the edge the whole time, but not overwhelmed by it at all, it just kept me interested and reading.

I LOVED the political bits in the book. The debates, the talks on strategy, discussions on important issues, the thoughtful banter between Jesse, Anthony and staffers, especially Jesse's assistant Ranya who was BRILLIANT. I enjoyed all of that thoroughly. Think West Wing, smart, funny dialogue that makes you to think will laughing your ass off.

The romance between Anthony and Jesse was also well done, believable, intense but not sappy. These men where aware all the things they were risking, sometimes they were careful and sometimes they were not. Some of their actions had terrible consequences, but in the end the atonement they had to do felt fair.

Some of the twists in the book might feel over the top it is true, and if it was anything other than American Politics I'd say maybe it was too much, but this might be one of the few cases were real life is actually worse. There were some loose ends, and specially one sub-plot that was given a lot of importance throughout the book felt like it was dropped in the end, but I still think it's a solid novel.

I completely enjoyed this book. It read very smoothly, the sex as always with LA Witt was BLAZING, and the ending was satisfying without stretching to fit conventional happy endings.

If you are a fan of LA Witt it's no-brainer and if you are not, this might be a GREAT book to try this author with.