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Romeo Marshall is over six feet of cool smooth hot southern seductiveness just like the music at his popular Raleigh club The Playground Jazz and Blues Bar With his beloved mother gone and no father he's ever known the business is Romeo's everything It's a place where anything can happen and the evening one gorgeous young woman and one intriguing old musician walk into the bar and into Romeo's life it does There's something about high powered down to the earth Taryn Williams that captures Romeo's attention like no other woman has Yet unanswered uestions from his past seem to hold him back from real commitment For Romeo to move forward in love he'll have to learn some devastating truths and James Piano Man Burdett is there to teach him And with Taryn's help Romeo just may accept that like music life sometimes needs to be improvised


10 thoughts on “Playing With Fire Sultry Southern Nights #1

  1. says:

    Full review 35 stars by wwwromanceandsmutcomPlaying With Fire is a strange sort of romance novel I say that because it’s definitely a story that straddles a few genres Since there is romance running through it’s entirety and since Deborah Fletcher Mello is an already recognized writer of romance books this novel somehow was designated as a romance though there is so much else that is interesting and enriching that is going on with this bookMs Mello begins Playing With Fire in the same vein as any run of the mill romance novel by introducing us to her hero Romeo Marshall is a tall college educated hottie running his own throwback Speakeasy themed barloungenightclub While Romeo has had a lot of female attention as evidenced from the constant touching kissing and outright propositioning he is exposed to nightly at his club we also learn that he has never uite found the right woman to hold said attention Enter Taryn Williams friend of a past conuest who comes into the bar one night with her girlfriends Through a series of not very unusual events Taryn and Romeo eventually start dating and with wonderful results they fall seriously and deeply in loveBefore you hit the third chapter it starts to become evident that Ms Mello aims to delve deeper into the broader themes of love and redemption than is expected of standard romances Instead the dominant themes are ones of father son love and connection and the underlying importance of an African American man’s responsibilities to himself his woman his children his community and his God There is an abundant wealth of material here in backstory alone that Ms Mello aims to touch on throughout the tale and present day effects of Romeo’s absentee father Piano Man has come back to see his son and be near to him without revealing his paternal relationship He wanders into Romeo’s bar one day and takes up space in his life as the resident piano player Piano Man wants to confirm what he has heard about his son and to see him in the flesh as there are some hints that his own days may be short It is interesting that he never defends his behavior in leaving town though he didn’t know Romeo’s mother was pregnant and simply offers up his acceptance of himself as a musician who had a burning need to play which meant he followed the music from town to town It is in fact hard to be angry with an old man like Piano Man and Mello knows this using his age and physical frailties to soften our opposition to his choices and the damage they caused Mello gives him such humanity that she helps us to stop our inner criticism of him and to listen and hear his reasoning and regrets This book tries to touch on many of the social issues and ills of contemporary African Americans and the wider world in general; alcoholism abuse anger issues absentee fathers etc Most of the issues are given a fair balance through dialogue between the old and the young and those who have experienced it first hand There is even a brief exploration of interracial relationships why black women turn to white men and black men turn to white women Again although both sides of the argument are given Romeo makes it very clear that he wants a strong beautiful black woman like his mama while his father says it doesn’t matter as long as the woman supports her man This kind of armchair psychologizing is somewhat overreaching because such issues are a heavy load for any book to handle let alone one romance book to bearThe sex in the book is good though not great and the sexual build up is about as pedantic as you can get as you see it coming from a mile away What is good about the sex however is that it is connective and it is used to bind the character’s hearts further together The message of this book although there is uite a lot of casual sex in the air is that nothing is better than a strong man and a strong woman working together through life’s adversities and pleasures In addition there are a few beautifully written scenes between the Piano Man and Aleta a contemporary of Romeo’s now deceased mother As an older couple making love they are sweet funny and well past their headboard knocking prime but the tenderness and simplicity of how they communicate their love and pleasure in one another is divinely written by Ms Mello and is a definite highlight of this book If you read the book for this section alone it will be worthwhileThis really is a story about an absentee father making his peace and the abandoned son finding his true self and facing his demons By joining AA submitting himself to outside help and the love of his good woman Taryn who is a pillar of strength and self worth Romeo does an about face from the bender he goes on when all truths are finally revealed The many social issues will keep you engaged to the extent that the apparent lack of focus on the romance and smut between Romeo and Taryn can be excused Perhaps this is part of the escapism sought by some in their reading material that not only will their men be heavily muscled and hot in the bedroom but that they can also take responsibility for their actions and do right by their women and children Playing With Fire will please lovers of Jazz Soul RB and the Blues as both men are involved deeply with music Songs and their artists are liberally sprinkled throughout the text Music is used to unite soothe express sorrow regret love and the myriad of emotions we humans experience Ms Melo also has a gorgeous vocabulary used to describe the many delicious hues of skin we encounter in the story Cocoa kissed complexions and dark chocolate draped muscles make for enjoyable moist and artistic reading Bold statements like “She was a round busty woman warm and soft like freshly mixed biscuit dough ready for kneading” will keep you chuckling and hopefully distract from some of the campy North Carolina accents used “I’se got something I wanna show you” This book earns a 35 out of 5 stars Check out reviews and find books by topics themes and tropes


  2. says:

    Copy Provided by Netgalley and Kensington Books for an honest reviewI wanted to like this book than i did however i don't know if it is just being English but i really struggled with the speech from the South It just sounded weird when reading it and i ended up speed reading the book I also have no idea where the title matches up with the bookI liked the story line however the big reveal was something that i had already guessed and Romeo seemed like a very likeable characterThere were too many points of view trying to round out the story it would have been better in my opinion if it had been just two points of view maxIt was an ok read it just did nothing for me until the end where we got action and even then the timeline suddenly sped up


  3. says:

    The big reveal may have been too easy to discover but the story was endearing enough so that nothing was ruined Parts of this story really WRECKED me but that's a good thing


  4. says:

    Title Playing With FireAuthor Deborah Fletcher MelloPublisher DafinaReviewed By Arlena DeanRating 5ReviewPlaying With Fire by Deborah Fletcher MelloBook DescriptionRomeo Marshall is over six feet of cool smooth hot southern seductiveness just like the music at his popular Raleigh club The Playground Jazz and Blues Bar With his beloved mother gone and no father he's ever known the business is Romeo's everything It's a place where anything can happen and the evening one gorgeous young woman and one intriguing old musician walk into the bar and into Romeo's life it doesThere's something about high powered down to the earth Taryn Williams that captures Romeo's attention like no other woman has Yet unanswered uestions from his past seem to hold him back from real commitment For Romeo to move forward in love he'll have to learn some devastating truths and James Piano Man Burdett is there to teach him And with Taryn's help Romeo just may accept that like music life sometimes needs to be improvisedWhat I liked about this novelPlaying With Fire was one very interesting story featuring Romeo Marshall who had it all but really did he? Romeo had grown up not knowing his father What will come of Romeo when he meets 'Piano Man' and finds the secret that had been held from him by his mother? What changes did this cause in his life? Will the love of Romeo Taryn be able to help him through this tough time or will it be his friend Malcolm that will be able to help guide him back on the straight and narrow path? To get the answers to these uestions and so much you will have to pick up Playing With Fire to see how well this author brings it all out to the reader I found this story to be a very interesting and a captivating read as this author is able to give the reader a well written story of what true love and forgiveness really is The characters are all simply off the chart good well developed defined well portrayed and believable all helping to give us a well rounded story that will grab your attention and keep up till the end Would I recommend? YES


  5. says:

    First I want to start off by saying that I love this cover If I hadn't read from this author before I would have automatically picked this book up based on the cover alone But I have read from this author and I know I can always count on Deborah Fletcher Mello to provide readers will a great story where her characters have heart and soul I loved Romeo and Taryn together and just like any couple these two went through some struggles Everyone isn't perfect and some people have a battle within themselves that they must fight I was rooting for Romeo and Taryn throughout the book and really thought the ending was perfect If you're looking for a well written book which includes characters with real emotions and a gripping story line then look no further because Playing With Fire is a must read


  6. says:

    copy courtesy of NetgalleyStand alone with HEAClean romanceI was on the fence about this book There were things I really liked about it I enjoyed the musical history and the characters like Piano Man and Odeta The old guys in the barJenkins and crew were fun some of the characters reminded me of some people I know I didn't really connect with the romance between Romeo and Taryn The story didn't really flow for meThere were a couple of things going on that made the romance secondary It was an ok read for me


  7. says:

    Searching for answers to his pass Romeo never expected to meet someone like Taryn Taryn is everything he has ever looked for But is he worthy of her This story is a sultry and complex read It draws you in and keeps you intrigued Received an ARC of Playing with Fire by Deborah Fletcher Mello for my honest viewpoint


  8. says:

    It's not easy I live one day at a time But love can be powerful motivator for change I stopped drinking because not only do I love my wan and the future I know we can have together but I also love myself as wellFull review to be posted during the week of release


  9. says:

    Smooth mellow grown folks love like Hennessy Pure White


  10. says:

    My first read by this author and I Loved it A real love story all around