Twenty-eight year old Zoe Gaston has come along way from the outsider Goth girl of her teen years who doesn’t have anything nice to remember about her high school years except her bookish best friend, Dexter Drake. However, if she is to help save her brother’s sinking company, it appears she will have to face all those who made her days at Central High miserable, as the only hope comes in the form of the gaming world’s famed Gandolf. Although Gandolf’s true identity is unknown, all clues point to Gandolf being someone Zoe went to school with, as a character in one of the games appears to be modeled after her. With trepidation, Zoe heads for her ten year reunion to track down Gandolf to try and persuade him to write an exclusive game for her brother’s new gaming system.
Twenty-seven year old Dexter Drake has just left his comfy job with a development company, signing over his pseudo identity along with it, in hopes of starting out on his own. Before beginning his venture he goes back to his family’s hotel, Drake Inn, to run things a bit while his parents go on vacation. As luck would have it, the girl who had held the position of his best friend, and secretly, his young heart, just happens to be in town for her ten-year reunion. Dexter isn’t prepared for the adult Zoe to walk in to his life, where fond admiration is quickly replaced by deep desire. He knows that she has come in search of Gandolf, but he is reluctant to spill the beans as he wants Zoe to take notice of him because of himself, not as an answer to a problem.
As Dexter decides to pursue Zoe, his confidence in his ability to win her affections wavers, so he hides not only that he is Gandolf from her, but decides to hide his physical appearance behind a mask, as well, seducing her as a stranger. Soon Dexter regrets the decision of deceiving Zoe, but fears her rejection if the mask should come off. What started out as a tedious task has only become more complicated for Zoe. Not only is she drooling over her best friend Dexter, but a sexy stranger has captivated her thoughts as well. Both make her knees weak, though she is reluctant to give in to the chemistry with Dexter, too afraid of ruining their friendship. With the reunion coming to a close, Zoe must find Gandolf and make some decisions fast, but when the light is finally shed on her reliable pal Dexter, will Zoe be able to cope with everything revealed?
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME is Tawny Weber’s saucy little kick off to Harlequin Blaze’s Dressed to Thrill miniseries. This hot little number dominated my afternoon hours. I found myself too immersed in the quickly unfolding plot to come up for air. Zoe and Dexter both undergo a duckling to swan transformation in their years after high school, but still waver with uncertainty when in the face of their old peers, something that many can relate to. The clever work up of Dexter’s pursuit of Zoe and their sweltering encounters add a much enjoyed spiciness to things while the secondary sidelines make for a well rounded story. It was a pleasure to review Tawny’s latest work, and if you haven’t read her already, Ms. Weber is an author not to pass up.