The Hideout by Melissa Tereze is an age-gap, workplace romance about two women who find a connection that shows how wonderful the world can be when you’re with the person who will go to great lengths to protect and love you unconditionally.
Juliet Saunders isn’t quite sure if quitting her soul-crushing job as an attorney and buying a private bar is sane, but she’s willing to give it a go and make it work. What she needs is a talented mixologist to create a signature cocktail menu. That’ll keep the regulars coming back and help increase new clientele. Enter Paige Harrison, a talented mixologist with a mysterious past and hot as hell. From the moment she walks in, Juliet is in lust and a spark ignites between them that has Juliet wanting to mix business with pleasure.
Paige Harrison knew who her new boss was pre-interview thanks to Google and was attracted to her immediately. But Paige cannot stay in one place too long. On the run from an abusive spouse has her constantly moving from one job to the next, but Juliet’s pull makes Paige weak in the knees and presents a world where happiness can exist. Paige would love to stay and explore a relationship with Juliet, but doing so would put Juliet in as much danger as Paige once her husband catches up to her. Because he always does.
Can Juliet and Paige find safety and happiness in The Hideout and each other? Or is it just an illusion with danger hot on Paige’s trail and not willing to give her up without a fight?
Pros And My Favourite Parts
Anna: I’ve never known Tereze to shy away from anything in her stories. She’s willing to tackle the taboo, the sexual, and the sensual. In this story, she has no qualms in giving us a lustful attraction between Juliet and Paige juxtaposed against the danger of trying to outrun someone who wants to hurt you. Even as Paige and Juliet seem to find their happily ever after early on, the connection to Paige’s husband isn’t far from thought. Tereze makes you feel his presence through Paige’s fear of his arrival and her constant worry about what he might/will do when he finds her. It is this ever not knowing that has caused Paige to run time and again, but now that she’s found Juliet, she’s found a safe harbor. Someone she can trust. Someone she can lean on, love, and be her true self with without worry of ridicule or physical harm. While I know abuse of any kind is hard for people to read, Tereze shows us the hope and the freedom someone can have when they escape a violent situation. And I commend her greatly for that.
Jenna: I agree, Anna. This is a wonderful love story that doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. The descriptive detail and engaging dialogue kept me turning the pages as quickly as I possibly could.
Juliet briefly appeared in Tereze’s previous novel, Discovery. Her all-business, buttoned-up, yet sexy persona piqued my interest and I just knew she had a story to tell. Juliet’s decision to retire from practising criminal law to buy a speakeasy-type bar is completely out of character of who she was but fits exactly who she becomes throughout this story. She grows from a lonely workaholic with no time for a relationship to a fiercely protective partner with a soft and gooey side.
Paige’s backstory is heartbreaking but her strength and perseverance keep her from succumbing to the pain. This combination makes her a really appealing character. Add in her vulnerability when she sits at a piano and belts out tunes and my heart is captured. I just wish that I could hear her sing, just once!
Cons And Heads Up
Anna: Despite my praise for Tereze, this is still a subject matter that can be very hard for readers. Abuse is no laughing matter and should be handled with care. I feel Tereze does show the care needed when portraying the effects of the abuse done to Paige very well, but everyone may not be able to see that.
Anna: Tereze is great at the sexual tension with her characters, but to be able to incorporate a serious topic of abuse by a loved one juxtaposed against a blossoming, loving, fulfilling relationship is a skill worth taking a look at. She’s able to find the balance to highlight Paige’s fears of being found against her growing feelings for Juliet in a way that has you cheering for her and worrying for her all at once. Balance is definitely key in this story and Tereze mastered it beautifully.
Jenna: The Hideout is real, raw, and emotional and takes readers on a journey through shame, vulnerability, self-discovery, loss, and love. The book deals with topics that might put some readers off but Tereze was careful in her handling of these topics. I was captivated from the first page and couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know how their story was going to end. Juliet and Paige’s story holds a special place in my heart and I am looking forward to their next installment.
Excerpt from The Hideout by Melissa Tereze
Paige rounded the counter with two expresso cups, placing one down on the table in front of Juliet. “I’m going to take my break now while it’s quiet. I’ll only be five minutes…”
Juliet nodded. “Sure. I was going to ask if you’d like to sit here with me but of course. You do what you need to do.”
Paige chewed the corner of her lip, hesitating between the couch and the exit.
“We’re okay, right? What I said earlier…If I was out of line, I apologise.”
Paige sat on a single chair opposite Juliet. She lowered her coffee to the table, propping her elbows on her knees as she leant in. “About the drink? Yeah, I was hoping to actually finish that conversation with you, but Cara walked in and put paid to that.”
“I don’t know why I even asked. Well, I do. But…it was out of line. I’m your boss, and you’ve never once insinuated that it would be something you’d be interested in. I was just chancing my luck, I guess.”
Paige suddenly swapped seats, now sinking into the leather beside Juliet.
“I’d love to go for a drink with you, I can’t quite believe you asked me, but I’m only here to work, Juliet. Liverpool is temporary for me; it’s not likely that I’ll be in a position to stay full-time, so yeah…I’m just here to work.”
Juliet placed a hand on Paige’s forearm, squeezing gently. “I understand. But I hope you know that if you did want to stay, I’d make sure you could go home if you needed to. Sudden or planned, I’d make sure you didn’t have to worry about the bar…”
Paige placed her hand over Juliet’s, smiling as her shoulders relaxed. “Look, you’re gorgeous. Absolutely way out of everyone’s league. Please don’t take my rejection as anything personal.”
Paige shouldn’t say things like that. It only made Juliet want her more.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1915242228
Publisher: Indie Author
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