Sleight of Hand, books 1-Private Performance & 2-Repeat Performance by Reese Galloway
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Synopsis - Private PerformanceEllaine Greene has simple desires. She just wants to do her best as the event coordinator for the local aquarium, to support environmental conservation efforts, and to keep immature man-children out of her life.
So when a major donor to the aquarium demands Ellaine find a magician for her granddaughter's birthday party, all she can imagine is a long line of card chuckers and coin flippers wearing cheesy sequined vests.
Instead, she gets Xander Hollatz, a sophisticated, powerful man in a crisp suit, with nimble fingers and a warm smile.
He's the man for the job, no doubt. And, to her surprise, she realizes he might be the man for her, too. Will she let her doubts get in the way of their feelings for each other?
And when everything goes wrong at the birthday party, will he be able to perform a miracle to save the day?
Sleight of Hand #1: Private Performance is a 17,000-word novella, introducing readers to Ellaine and Xander's passionate and tender romance, to the fascinating wildlife inhabiting the aquarium, and to the mysterious world of professional magicians.
Synopsis - Repeat PerformanceEllaine Greene has a new man in her life, the famous magician Xander Hollatz. He's ripped, kind, and mysterious -- nothing like her ex-husband. He has even volunteered to perform at her aquarium's annual fundraising gala. But she's still having trouble leaving the past behind, especially when her ex shows up to beg for money.
Before the new couple knows it, someone's trying to break into Xander's mansion to steal the secrets of his many famous illusions. Ellaine's ex becomes their prime suspect. But maybe it's actually the up-and-coming street magician they've befriended. Or maybe it's even someone from Xander's mysterious past.
Whoever the thief is, if he uncovers and reveals the secret of Xander's newest illusion for the fundraiser, the event will be a disaster. Ellaine may lose her job.
And there's a still greater question: Is this feeling they share together just lust -- or is it something more?
Find out in this 74,000-word book, the second volume in the Sleight of Hand series.
ReviewTake a woman with a love of the ocean who works in an aquarium and a man who retired from being a magician and put them together with the help of an enthusiastic assistant.
Ellaine Greene doesn't have the highest self esteem (or the cleanest apartments!) and seriously doubts herself and her powers of attraction when she meets the man from her dreams, Xander Hollandz. Her ever-so-helpful assitant sets them up, knowing Ellaine needs another magician for birthday parties at the aquarium and Xander needs a new lease on life.
Xander Hollandz's life has fallen almost into a state of no return when he's introduced to Ellaine. Despite her rejection of him the first time, they do get to know each other and sparks fly. He's battling some pretty fierce demons of his own and gradually comes clean about them all, even the one he thinks she'll leave him because of. His self-esteem isn't actually much higher than Ellaine's, but he's got a firm idea of what he wants--her--and does what he needs to, to hide his secrets from her until he's compelled to reveal them to her, one at a time.
I really enjoyed both of these books. The novella is a great introduction to the couple and you can't really get the full enjoyment out of the second book without the first. The world of magic and illusion made my feel a little like a kid again and I really wanted to see the tricks in real life instead of just reading about them. I got a feel for the characters and their issues. I felt sorry for the young volunteer whose mother is an overbearing arse without a clue what teenagers need to know about the real world. I got to know more than just the two main characters, Ellaine and Xander, I got to know Kaylee and Brissa, too, as well as Xander's young apprentice, Shay, who helps Ellaine out of a pickle outside a nightclub.
Thoroughly enjoyable reads and well worth the time to do so. Thumbs up to Reese Galloway and these magical books!