Publication Date: October 13, 2014
Ellaine 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.
My Review:Private Performance by Reese Galloway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ellaine works for an aquarium that is struggling for funding. An important donor wants a magician to perform at a party she is hosting at the aquarium, and Ellaine is charged with finding one. Through her assistant and friend she finds Xander, an incredibly successful magician who left the scene a few years back. He agrees to perform at the party and would like to do what he can to help the aquarium keep its doors open. Ellaine and Xander are attracted to each other right away. Ellaine has been out of a terrible relationship with her ex-husband for a couple years, but is scared to get into another relationship. She is nervous about getting involved with Xander, but they don't seem to be able to stay away from each other.
This is a short novella, but we definitely get an idea of the chemistry that exists between Ellaine and Xander. Their attraction is intense and it is clear that Xander is an interesting person with some secrets in his past. I look forward to continuing with this series and hopefully finding out more about both characters.
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: October 27, 2014
Synopsis:Ellaine 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.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book picks up right where we are left at the end of Private Performance. Ellaine and Xander are obviously attracted to one another, but Ellaine is reluctant to jump into a relationship after how badly her marriage ended. She is also reluctant to get involved with someone she is developing a business relationship with.
Ellaine and Xander have some strong chemistry, but at times Ellaine's indecision about the kind of relationship she can handle or not handle and somewhat impulsive behaviors were frustrating. Xander and Ellaine both have some troubling issues in their past, and in this book we see those pasts come back to haunt both of them. There are elements of suspense as we see threats to Xander and Ellaine and to the future of the aquarium. I stayed engaged in the story throughout, but at times I found Ellaine's thoughts and behaviors a bit confusing and irritating. All in all, I was hoping that Ellaine and Xander would be able to deal with the challenges that faced them and get to a point where they could just be happy with one another. I will likely continue on with this series as the next installment is released.
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review