Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Laura Leone
Pub: June 2004 by Five Star Trade
When Ryan meets Sara, his new next-door neighbor in a rickety old San Francisco apartment building, both are in a state of emotional turmoil. Ryan, a high-priced prostitute, is trying to break free of his old life, but his handler, Catherine, won't let him. Sara's medieval mystery series has just been terminated by her publisher, and she is now trying to write a historical thriller. Sara doesn't dare make the first move toward deepening their relationship because she is older than Ryan, not as physically attractive, and halfway convinced he is gay and that if she pushes him she will lose his friendship, which she values. In this realistically gritty, sometimes violent, and gripping tale, Leone reveals the seamier side of society's maneuvering while she spins an unconventional romance between two unhappy people who find that love, like respect, can grow out of friendship and shared experiences and that new beginnings are indeed possible for those with the determination and courage to pursue them.
Making the Grade: A-
For My Thoughts
Fallen From Grace is the perfect example of how looks can be deceiving.
Ryan seems to have it all. He’s gorgeous, a "model", sweet, generous, caring, lovable, a perfect gentleman and Sarah’s new perfect neighbor...he’s also the perfect tortured hero. The reality is Ryan is living a lie and hiding a deep dark secret that will just make your heart break for him as mine did several times while I was reading it.
In a seemingly unbearable and what Ryan sees as an inescapable situation, he is forced to prostitute himself daily, in a high-class manor if that makes any difference to a clientele of wealthy woman. Ryan sees himself as beholden to a woman Catherine who saves his life when he was a troubled, desperate teen and now basically Katharine controls Ryan’s life.
But one thing Catherine can’t control is Ryan’s growing attraction for his new neighbor Sarah.
Saran’s a women whose life is in flux. I loved that she was a writer whose career had taken a bit of a downturn when she’s dropped by her current publisher. So she decides to sell her condo, move to a much smaller apartment and continue to write. Maybe not the best decision and not one her family supported, especially her sister, but I liked that she took the risk and believed in herself. Not sure I could have been so brave given the same circumstances. On the plus side she did meet Ryan.
As Ryan and Sarah spend more time together and their friendship grows, Ryan won’t let himself pursue Sarah because of the secrets he is keeping from her - he just doesn‘t feel worthy of her *sniffle*. And although Sarah is captivated by her new younger neighbor, she’s convinced he would never give her the time of day or a second glance. Not that Sarah is anywhere near old - mid thirties, but Ryan’s younger, a major sticking point for Sarah and he’s a model for goodness sake with women throwing themselves at him daily or so Sarah thinks. Ha! If only she knew the truth.
Ryan’s a saviour and a survivor. I think because he figured there was no hope for him to save his own soul, he turned his attention to saving a variety of two and four-legged animals. Like the crazy parrot he adopted when the previous owner left it behind, the big oaf of a dog Macy who can’t even make up two flights of stairs without being carried and then there’s shy Cat. Ryan’s love of his animals is just one more reason he’s perfect!
Fallen From Grace was a beautiful love story that developed from a solid friendship between two people fighting their own issues. It was filled with many poignant moments and I wasn’t only routing for Ryan to conquer his demons and escape from beneath Catherine’s financial thumb, but I cheered all the way to the end for Ryan and Sarah’s HEA.