Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Hayden Owens is just your typical graduate student working his way through school as a barista for the Owens Coffee Company—no relation. But he keeps the “no relation” part to himself when he meets dashing architect, Neal Kirchner, a successful older man from an old-money family. Hayden doesn’t exactly lie, but he figures it can’t hurt for Neal to believe he’s a rich kid. After all, Hayden doesn’t want Neal thinking he’s a gold digger.
The closer they become, the harder it gets for Hayden to come clean. Something always seems to get in the way. When a company bankruptcy and a jilted, vindictive woman threaten to expose his charade, Hayden thinks it’s all gone down the drain. Luckily Neal is ready with some innocent trickery of his own.
High Test by Elizabeth Noble is a sweet contemporary romance from Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires line. While not exactly Cinderfella, it does have the rich man/poor man trope down as part of the storyline. Student Hayden Owens meets older rich Neal Kirchner at his university function for his department. Their attraction is mutual and a relationship is built over a succession of dates.
The author’s characterizations are solid and multidimensional. We immediately like both men and understand the attraction between them, the age difference notwithstanding. The same goes for the vast disparity in station and income…we are able to see the imbalance through the descriptions of Neal’s attire, house, etc. but his mannerisms are such, that he gently makes that fade away in his actions towards Hayden. This is a lovely romance and their interactions and personal dynamics as they work their way towards a relationship will have you rooting for the couple.
There is some drama as there should be and then a wonderful finale. All ends well and downright as romantically as you would have hoped for. Such a sweet, warm hearted read that I can’t help but smile as I recommend it to all lovers of romantic stories.
Cover Artist: Bree Archer. I love the cover art and the character it represents. Just perfect.