I accepted this book for review without reading the blurb. I really liked the author’s contribution to the Undercover Lovers anthology and had already decided that I wanted to read more from her. I eagerly dug right in and realized this was a May-December romance featuring an older woman and a younger man with a fifteen year age gap. The older woman/younger man dynamic works just fine for me but with a fifteen year age gap, I admit to hesitating for second. Oh I know, I know, I’ve read paranormal romances with ridiculous age gaps without blinking an eye and so after my moment of discomfort, I moved on.
Regina is a relatively young widow. I was never really clear if she was in her late thirties or early forties but I’m inclined to say early forties. Her husband died six years ago and while she is not drowning in grief, she is lonely and certainly not living life to its fullest. She has a career that is only moderately satisfying and she’s not doing much else. One evening after work while enjoying a glass of wine on her deck she notices her neighbor ‘enjoying himself’ in his backyard. She’s a little unnerved, but also aroused as she watches in the shadows. She’s shocked to realize it’s her neighbor’s twenty-something son who is home from college.
Josh has done a great deal of growing up since the days when he lusted after his hot, older, married next door neighbor. She was the star of all his teenage erotic fantasies and now he has every intention of making those boyhood fantasies a reality.
Keeping Pace is a very emotional story that mostly centers around Regina and her feelings of loss and finding love again. What begins as a spontaneous fling turns into so much more and although Regina wants to give into her feelings, she is conflicted over the age gap between her and Josh. She worries about what others might think but also wonders what Josh might be missing out on by being involved with her. Regina’s struggle to find an emotional balance and reclaim her sensuality is both joyful and sad at the same time. She struggles with a range of emotions and takes the reader right along with her.
Josh on the other hand seems focused, and sure of what he wants. Aside from his appearance he seems much older than his twenty something years and comes on pretty strong in the emotional department. He barrels into this relationship head first and doesn’t waiver. He never showed any discomfort with the age difference at all. My main problem with Josh is aside from his love for Regina we just don’t get to know him very well. We do get some history on him and he really made the bedroom scenes interesting, but I felt his character lacked depth when compared to how Regina was portrayed and I would have liked more development in Josh.
In the beginning I was a little dubious about whether or not I could get into this relationship dynamic, but I soon became invested in this lovely, emotional May-December romance. I felt the story wrapped up a little too quickly and would have liked just a little more but Dee Carney follows up with a very sigh worthy epilogue that left me with a very silly grin on my face. As much as I enjoyed this story, I really wanted to hug that epilogue.