Title: High Test
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Dec 1, 2017
Page Count: 202
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.0 stars out of 5
The coffee is rich. Hayden isn’t. But Neal doesn’t need to know that—yet.
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.
Book blurb sums up the plot quite well so I won’t rehash.
This was a pleasant enough read with your basic May-December plot: young man meets older man, young man and older man connect, outsiders try to interfere in relationship, there are trials and tribulations, happy ever after.
I liked Hayden, he was personable enough. I liked Neal, filthy rich but not ostentatious about it. I didn’t like Steffe – those of you who’ve read my reviews know my thoughts on the female friend/coworker/sister who Has To Know ALL THE DETAILS. Cliqued and overdone, this will push my buttons every time. Rick (Rich? The fashion designer) was cool.
Neal’s family and social circle offered a nice counterpoint to Hayden’s. Where Hayden’s world was flowing with positivity and upbeat people, Neal’s was less so. The dinner with Neal’s parents was a good example of that, as was manipulative Maeve.
I was also quietly bracing myself for The Big Misunderstanding as the author slowly built-up Hayden’s attempt to tell Neal he wasn’t from a family of money, but a struggling grad student instead. I applaud how the author handled the situation when it arose, with the exception of having Hayden run out the door. Here we have a PhD student, who is going to be facing critics and condemnation over future concept designs, and he runs out the door rather than standing up for himself. That just didn’t fly with me.
Only other observation I have is Hayden commented a lot on Neal’s watch and I thought it was leading up to something. It didn’t.
Ultimately, an agreeable and enjoyable May-December romance with a well-rounded set of characters and a basic romance plot.