A Taming Season by Claire Gem

This stunning romance takes place at a calming lakeside summer town in upstate New York. Bright sunshine, cool breezes off the lake, and a gorgeous man with a sexy, deep baritone. Sounds like my kind of place.

What’s it About?

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Manhattan domestic violence counselor Zoe Anderson is going on the most important vacation of her life. Before she can move on, help other women, Zoe needs to heal herself. Her Cinderella life shattered three years ago one fateful night, leaving her a young widow, scarred inside and out. In an attempt to reclaim her life, bury her demons, and save her job, Zoe sets out for picturesque Lake George to claim the treasured family cottage she recently inherited. The place where she found happiness—before. Reboot, restore to an earlier time. What she finds is a rundown shack.

The neighboring resort mogul, Jason Rolland, whisks in to her rescue, insisting Zoe stay at his upscale Lakeview Lodge. The wealthy, handsome, star of his own radio show, Jason’s Lair, he’s a terminal bachelor. But Jason figures he might use the gifts God gave him to convince the sexy redheaded stranger to give up the crumbling eye-sore next door. A challenge he’s definitely up for. He’s been trying to buy the cabin—and demolish it—for years: the last reminder of his own tragic, childhood memories.

Zoe can’t deny her attraction to the tall, dark-haired Jason with his pool-water blue eyes. Definitely fling material—if she can just get past those flashbacks from the night everything changed. And the knowledge that when it comes to happy-ever-after, you usually don’t get a second chance. Hardly possible with the Tiger of Jason’s Lair. What Jason doesn’t figure on is Zoe’s charms melting his emotional armor. But with his reputation, can he ever win her heart? Can a tiger really change his stripes? Or will their pasts come back to bite them both?

First Impressions

Good God I can’t tell you how many times this novel reminded me that I am in desperate need of my own solo, lakeside, mountainous vacation. I also wouldn’t mind some accompaniment from the gorgeous Jason either! Despite the serene backdrop, this novel isn’t exactly a calming read with no drama. Zoe is looking for a place where she can unwind and perhaps remember a time before her life was turned upside-down. But when she arrives in Lake George to discover the cottage she inherited is in a shambles, and the sexy real-estate mogul next door wants to demolish the eye-sore, her relaxing getaway just got a lot more complicated. Throw in some steamy sex with said real-estate mogul, and well, you’ve got yourself a complicated little romance.

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An Admirable Lead

The first thing that draws you into this novel is Zoe. She might appear broken, what with a jagged scar running down her face, not to mention her frequent panic attacks. That being said, you can’t deny her strength. She’s not willing to give up, and will try any crazy scheme to try and get her life back on track, even if it means engaging in a summer fling with no feelings involved. Something completely out of character for her, but she won’t shy away from a challenge.

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Personally I maybe would have liked if Zoe really got into fixing up her family cottage. It could have been an intense form of therapy! Her lazy days of sunbathing and romance novel reading were probably more realistic in what she needed (not to mention something I would have done myself!), but it did kind of drag the story at times. Especially as Jason did business in Albany four days of the week. In a way, they had a summer fling reserved for weekends.

A Fling, or Something More?

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The second thing which totally mesmerized me in this novel was the development of Zoe and Jason’s relationship, as the two had such differing views on what this fling meant. For Zoe, that’s all she wants. A fling. Something purely physical. Upon meeting Jason it’s the first time since her husband’s death that her lady bits have started to pay attention, but she’s not ready for anything serious. She needs to focus on healing herself first. Jason seems like the perfect ladies man playboy to fulfill her needs.

On the surface, Jason is just that, the ladies man always up for a good time. However, he’s starting to tire of that lifestyle. He starts to wonder if perhaps he wants something more. When Zoe comes along, she is the first woman who’s ever made him consider possibly pursuing a serious relationship. He decides to give it his all. But what will happen when Zoe thinks Jason’s attentions are all part of his game, or when their conflicting opinions of what this really means comes to the forefront?

Look to the Seasons

Something else I found rather interesting about this novel was the apparent symbolism of the seasons, and how they correspond to Zoe and Jason’s relationship. As summer progresses, their relationship definitely starts to heat up, but as summer comes to a close we all just know the story is building for something to go wrong.

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Don’t even get me started on fall and winter. Cheese and monkeys it’s downright depressing as our leads break off communication due to a typical romance novel misunderstanding, and Zoe returns to New York. It’s a dark and dreary part of the story, and you can’t help but wonder if perhaps the New Year can bring our lovebirds back together, or if their summer fling will remain a distant memory.

*A copy of this novel was provided for an honest review*

Series: Love at Lake George, book 1. I’d be interested to see what might come next. A tale involving Jason’s sister would intrigue me.

Should you read it? I was loving the summer fling moments. The winter depression kind of got me down, especially as those close to Jason never relayed to Zoe how completely lost he was without her. Or even stressed the fact that his interactions with her were different than those with his former flames. Definitely an intriguing tale though about taking a chance on love.

Smut Level: Sexy lingerie, romantic tumbles in the shadows of the lawn, and one very eager playboy.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Erato Publishing. 340 Pages

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4 thoughts on “A Taming Season by Claire Gem

  1. Thank you for this insightful review, Lauren. The symbolism of the seasons wasn’t planned…but certainly fits. A sequel featuring Jade, Jason’s sister, has been asked for by several readers. It may just have to be the next book in the series… 😉

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