From time to time I troll social media to see what good books my favorites are talking about. You know the drill. If you’re a book lover, you always have your ear to the ground for what other people like and are reading… what’s new, what’s coming. I even have an addiction to NetGalley and Edelweiss because if a super awesome book is coming out soon, I want it. NOW.
It was during one of my stalk…err discovery sessions that I read about Christina Jones (www.beingmrsjones.com). I’m always on the hunt for great writers of black romance so I hit her site, read about her books and set out to grab some of her work.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love is book one in the Serendipitous Love series (also in this series: Didn’t Mean to Love You and Fall in Love Again). The most recent book in the series was just released last month, but I’m odd about series. I don’t like coming into one in the middle if I can help it. So, if I have time, I roll back to the beginning and get to know the characters from the start.
Crazy Little Thing is set in a fictional neighborhood that is the envy of my heart: cozy little shops in a downtown enclave owned by African Americans that are mere steps from each other. All of the owners are tightly knit and watch out for each other, help each other out. Home is but a few steps away in what I imagine to be eclectic and interesting buildings. Simone runs a successful flower shop, a dream made possible by a loan from her generous friend India, who at the outset is mysteriously absent. Next door is a chocolatier, Vivienne. Down the street is a tattoo artist and across the street is Carter, the handsome, sexy barber. Simone, though, only has eyes for Roman, owner of Urban Grind, a coffee shop by day and an intimate, soulful club by night.
When the two meet, it is quite by accident. Roman and a friend happen into the flower shop on the hunt for an ‘I’m sorry I forgot your birthday’ bouquet. Roman was distractingly gorgeous and smelled strongly like coffee. He leaves with his friend, but hours later he comes back and invites her to stop into Urban Grind sometime.
And there begins a lovely romance.
Jones takes her time winding her readers through this sweet romance tinged with espresso beans and lilies. Roman and Simone move quickly from just flirting to ‘much more than friends’… more quickly than either of them are prepared for, but Simone’s motto for the year is to not be boring. Her budding romance with Roman is anything but boring. I haven’t read a book where steam rises from the pages in quite a while. The sensuality is palpable, even moreso the growing affection between the two of them, from the soft jabs to the loving declarations.
This relationship, however, has extra pieces. Like Roman’s daughter, who Simone doesn’t learn about until she’s well into like with him. And Zahra’s mother… who lives with Roman and who takes this relationship from sweet and carefree to ‘what the hell am I doing, dating a man who lives with his child and her mother?’ Simone is now dating a man with a child… is she ready for this experience? And what about Leah, the child’s mother? Does she still want Roman or is the situation as platonic as they both insist?
A quiet influence throughout the story is India, Simone’s oldest, best friend. Simone shares everything with India– her hurts and fears, her joy, her pain. Her new love Roman and the issues they encounter during their relationship. A heartbreaking loss, a few near-love affair ending incidences… India gets it all, but never responds. Not that Simone expects her to. India is in a coma, the result of a seizure while giving birth to her now two year old daughter. Waiting for her to wake up has been a daily pain that Simone has endured. Loving Roman helps to take the edge off, but when India’s condition worsens, Simone needs his comfort and strength more than ever.
Roman doesn’t know how to tell this woman that he’s deeply in love with that the night she lost her best friend, he was being seduced by his ex, the mother of his child.
A friend of mine once said, “Yes, romance is predictable. A meets B, A and B live happily ever after– that’s a given. What happens between the meeting and the happily ever after… that’s the story.” Crazy Little Thing isn’t just about A and B and the happy ending. Its not only about two obviously good looking, sexy people falling in love.
It’s also about entrepreneurs putting the most into their work and come into their own success. It is about respect of fellow human beings, dedication to relationships and sticking through a tough time with a person that you love because you love them. It’s also about growing up and out and realizing when a relationship doesn’t work anymore and when you really need to let go… and not having hard feelings about the other party moving on as well.
Crazy Little Thing is a full tour through a relationship’s ups and downs, trials and joys. I was only sad that this book ended for a moment, because then I remembered I have two more books set in this enviable world. I’m ready to jump back in!