Connected Hearts – Four Lesbian Romance Stories by Joan Arling, RJ Nolan, Jae
This compilation of four short-stories takes the reader back to well-known characters. For one, there’s Annie and Drew from “Something In The Wine” by Jae. As I mentioned in my book review to that novel, my only complaint with that was that I wanted to learn more about the main characters’ troubles in the relationship after they finally got together – and I got my wish. I really liked the way the author developed Annie and made her insecurities believable. I had to laugh quite a few times but it made me care about the characters even more. This short story was my favorite one of the four.
Another story is a continuation of RJ Nolan’s novel “L.A. Metro”. I hadn’t read the novel before reading this short story, so I didn’t know the characters yet. I found it was written really well and I liked the obstacles both women created for themselves while having a very similar idea – even though I didn’t much care for the actual idea all that much. Now, after having read “L.A. Metro” as well, I can appreciate the story even more.
The other two stories are about new characters – as far as I can tell. At least I didn’t know them from any novels. Both are about women that have a chance encounter with a stranger. And both are more than a bit surprised that their bleak view on love seems to be not as depressing as they originally thought.
From all four stories I liked Jae’s “Seduction for Beginners” the best. That might be because I had just finished reading the novel and already knew the characters. But all stories are really well written and the book is a nice and entertaining read. I’d recommend reading the novels beforehand, though, since it makes reading these short stories even better.
L.A. Metro by RJ Nolan
Dr. Kimberly Donovan is a thirty-something psychiatrist – and she’s ready to start over as far away from her ex-lover as possible. After being involved in a debate about her ethics, her lover, the ER Chief of Memorial Hospital where Kim had worked, leaves her and even denies their relationship. Kim ends up at L.A. Metropolitan Hospital, more than ready to move on, professionally as well as personally.
On her first day at work she learns that her new job entails being the ER psych consult – a job no one in her department seems to want. The chief of the ER is Dr. Jess McKenna. She is known throughout the hospital as controlled, cold, and unreachable. Not the best start for Kim on the new job it seems but when she meets Jess, she’s attracted to her right from the start. Wary because of her instant attraction and quite sure that she’s not interested in yet another affair with an ER Chief, she focuses on finding her place in her new department and getting on good working grounds with Dr. McKenna.
Jess feels equally attracted to the new doctor in the psych department, however, she’s been burned with an inter-office relationship as well and has been the focus of gossip ever since.
Both women decide to keep their professional distance and focus on work instead. Along the way they become close friends who admire each other for being really good medical professionals – and both can’t help slowly falling in love with the other.
L.A. Metro is a really entertaining read that I’d like to recommend to anyone who’s interested in reading about grown-up women with pasts and a professional life that’s important to them. I really cared about both characters and liked their way of interaction. These women know what they want and have been burned for it in the past. Despite that, they are still willing to take risks – both professionally and in their private lives.
My only complaint is, that I’d have loved to learn more about the plots of the secondary characters and the hospital in general, e.g. in the beginning, when Kim starts out on the job there’s a lot of conflict between the different departments and later on we get to know a young resident that struggles with managing her family and her career. She talks to both protagonists – Jess as her boss and Kim because she’s a willing listener. Unfortunately, we don’t get to know her better and just assume that she managed somehow. And then there’s Jess’ sister … But that complaint is not something that couldn’t be corrected in a sequel.
Other than this minor thing I really enjoyed the book and will certainly read it again.