Dial 323 LOVE
AJ Brooks is a college student still living in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, waiting tables for work and aiming to eventually make it as a movie screenwriter in Hollywood. A chance encounter with Maggie Hunter, a glamorous LA businesswoman, at his restaurant leads him to leave Memphis (and his college girlfriend he expected to marry after graduation) and move to LA based on Maggie’s promise that she was an agent and could help him in his screenwriting dreams.
Once in LA, AJ discovers that Maggie’s promises come with a catch. Yes, he can meet Hollywood professionals and movie producers. But he’s going to be at those events as a high-priced gigolo, working for Maggie. The lure of easy-money and “no one will ever know” is too tempting for AJ to say no, so he agrees and begins a lifestyle he’s utterly unprepared for.
Dial 323 LOVE is outside of the usual romance genre, but also isn’t part of the newer 50 Shades of Gray-style erotica. It bridges both well, reading more like a modern Danielle Steel or Judith Krantz, with lots of famous designer labels mentioned throughout. The balance between Maggie and her worldliness and AJ’s sheltered upbringing create an interesting dynamic, and as AJ meets clients, he begins to accept his new lifestyle and find his place in Maggie’s world. Because, ultimately, it is Maggie’s world he’s living in.
Dial 323 Love is the first in a series, and, while it concludes a story arc, unlike romances, it doesn’t end with the picket fence, kids, and the happily ever after. However, it does set up an ongoing interest in AJ, Maggie, and wherever the story goes next. Author C.M. Arnold does well with characterization and dialog—keeping it feeling natural and letting the story flow along.
Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||344 pages|
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