For half his life Quinn has been making his living as a professional Casanova. Challenged by Molly to take his business elsewhere, he strikes a bargain with her: give him until New Year’s Eve and she’ll never see him again, and in the meantime he’ll make it worth her while.
As their arrangement becomes a passionate affair, there’s no denying that Molly’s been waiting for him to come into her life for a very long time. She never imagined that a man like Quinn would be the one.
This book was one of those serendipitous reads that delight a reader. I have a number of other books I’d been meaning to review … but Holding My Breath is just the most standout book I’ve read lately. I’m not even sure how I found it – perhaps seeing it in my library’s digital collection? And some late night I clicked and read it pretty much in one go. I’ve already started reading another book by A.M. Hartnett. (Actually, book one. I accidentally read them out of order, but for me personally, I think it worked out better that way.) Also a draw was Ms. Hartnett’s last name – I’ve got major positive association because of Hayden-Harnett (a delicious Brooklyn based Handbags & Accessories company).
I’m not even following usual ALBTALBS format because this book is so unique. There isn’t much to say but there’s everything to say. So. Onward.
Molly is your regular broken person. I liked that she’s so very normal. She’s thirty, going through a divorce, and dealing with significant emotional baggage. Molly also falls quickly and deeply into a relationship with Quinn, and I liked that as well.
This book is hot. I mean, you expect that, what with Quinn being a male prostitute. (He doesn’t like the word gigolo.) Ms. Hartnett’s writing is really engaging, and a book that you might think is really stark and more like erotica works as a romance. Really well. There are tender moments between Molly and Quinn and it’s clear there’s more than sex between them. Although there is a lot of sex. In fact, so much that even my erotic romance loving self was all “ok tell me what happens — enough with the fucking!”
Holding My Breath also packs an emotional punch. At a moment you aren’t expecting it you get a fist to the gut and it just floors you as a reader. For me, that’s what took the book to the next level – when Quinn “comes clean” to Molly about his plans. I don’t want to spoil it, because I hope you’ll read the book.
There’s the juxtaposition of the characters being so very normal… but not. Also the ~unusual aspect of Quinn being the more romantic one in the relationship. While it takes them a while to define it, it’s clear Molly and Quinn are in it for the long haul. And that Quinn pushes for more. He gets his way a lot because frankly, he’s a sex bomb. So for Molly, it’s win-win. I liked that Molly is a self actualized sexual woman. There’s none of this slut shaming going on, which is nice. Molly is a grown ass woman who is going to have sex if she wants to, and have a damn good time while doing it. And why not do it with the best?
In a way Holding My Breath is a grand sexual romp with two broken people that find their new selves in each other. The sex is a major benefit, but it’s a side one. Quinn and Molly are able to be genuine with each other because “their worst” is laid out from the start. Quinn is a prostitute Molly is supposed to shoo away from her hotel, but instead she indulges one night with him. And then more. They click sexually first, but quickly emotionally as well. Kudos also to Ms. Harnett for the characters. Quinn is thirty-six, and Molly thirty. Both are established in their lives and mature enough to know what they want, and don’t want.
Quinn has a dry sense of humor, and is so matter of fact about his profession. He has his scars too – so it’s not all hunky dory. Basically Holding My Breath brings it all together for me. Great characters and characterization, really engaging prose, humor, substance, and more emotional depth than you expected. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes erotic romances.
You can buy a copy here.