The Loner by Kate Moore

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The first book in the new “The Canyon Club” series introduces us to Will Sloan, a tall, dark and handsome tech guru who has recently sold his company for bucu bucks. For what seems like his entire adult life, Will has been infatuated with Annie James who was a young secretary at his hated high school, Canyon Prep. Will fell hard for Annie at the young age of 18 and never quite got over the heartbreak of her dismissal.

Fast forward 10 years to the class reunion of the Canyon Prep class of 2005. The school is in the red and in desperate need of a bailout. One of Will’s classmates, Josh Huntington, is in charge of fundraising and knows Will has a major bankroll and a major soft spot for Annie. As many things have changed, one has remained the same…Will still loves Annie. But does Annie feel the same? Did she ever have feelings for him? When forces throw the couple together again they must navigate the troubled waters of the past and decide if there is a future.

TheLoner_coverThis is a new author for me but she is certainly not new to the romance writing scene. Moore does a nice job of introducing the main characters quickly and gave enough information about their past to intrigue me within the first chapter.

While the concept of the book is relatively rote – rich man, hurt woman – the history shared with Will and Annie makes this a unique read. In addition to that the cast of supporting characters, mainly Josh Huntington, have their own original story lines intertwined with Will and Annie’s.

At the heart of this novel is a story of redemption and hope, which is perfect for this time of year. That said, this is not a holiday read but it does lend itself to those same warm and fuzzy holiday feelings. And yes, there is sex, but it’s primarily “behind closed doors” making this a good read for anyone uninterested in reading racy sex scenes, but still gets your heart racing a time or two.

There are a few words of caution I would give readers – this is not a “quick read”. I say that because there are parts in which the characters drift back to their pasts and where the scene quickly changes from past to present forcing the reader to slow down and (for me) sometimes re-read a page or passage again to gain clearer understanding.

Also, as I stated before, Josh has a story line brewing in this book (which will continue in Book 2 of the series) but it does take away some of the focus on Will and Annie. While I appreciate Moore is attempting to introduce us to Josh, it is at times challenging to keep up with all the ins and outs of everyone’s lives.

I do look forward to Book 2 in this series, Golden Boy, featuring Josh Huntington and his new tenant (also introduced in The Loner) which is set to release in early 2015.


EXCERPT from The Loner

When the door opened, he shifted, flattening a palm against each wall, blocking her way. She halted in front of him and squared her shoulders.

“Nice lace.”

She blushed instantly, and her response sent a hot flash to his groin.

She recovered quicker than he did. “Do you know why Josh Huntington threw us together tonight?”

“His deep devotion to Canyon.”

A look of disgust crossed her face. “Josh doesn’t do anything that isn’t purely in his own self-interest.”

He was glad to hear her say it. At least she wasn’t taken in by the guy. His own questions were pressing on him again. “Why did you leave Canyon?”

“Why did you come here tonight?”

He kept his palms flat against each wall. “Are you kidding? New Directions for Canyon? I’m the only guy who doesn’t see the place as a holy shrine. You want to hear my idea for Canyon? Sell it to developers, bring in the wrecking ball and the backhoes, and give hundreds of poor kids a full college ride.”

“An excellent plan. Hostile, but practical.” She tried to slip by him, and he leaned forward, bringing his face within inches of hers.

“Make me less hostile.” He reached out a hand and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. Her whole body shivered at the touch, and he felt gut-punched. He forced himself to press for the answers he wanted. “Why didn’t you answer that letter?”

He caught a puzzled look in her eyes, but the men’s room door opened.

“This is not the time or the place for this conversation.”

“Come with me. You can explain it.”

Voices intruded. Two men stepped into the hallway and halted. Will took his hands from the walls. Deep brown eyes pleaded with him. He took her arm, leading her down the hall.

“You were eighteen,” she said in a low voice.

“I knew my mind. You pretended not to know yours.”

“You had an amazing college opportunity ahead of you.”

“You didn’t believe in me. You believed in guys like Moreland, but not in me. You thought I wouldn’t make it.”

“You had not even begun to live. I was a widow. My husband had been dead barely a year. A year.”

“You saw where I lived,” he said quietly. “You were afraid to take a chance on a nobody like me.”

“I did what I had to do, what I thought was right. And look at you. You’ve done well. Without me. You can’t deny it.” She slipped out of his hold and headed across the patio.

A smart man would let her go. He decided to be smart.

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