Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Randall Morgan, youngest son of one of Seattle’s wealthiest families, rejected his family’s money to live free of their control and pursue his career as a photographer. To make ends meet, Randall does erotic photography and massage—a secret he keeps from his family so he can remain a part of his young niece’s life. But the price of that relationship is high, and Randall is once more slipping under his family’s thumb.
Noah Carroll is the spokesperson for the Seattle Humane Society, and the city holds a special place in his heart. When fate intervenes during a pet adoption, Noah finds himself face-to-face with his first love—Randall.
While Noah and Randall are not the teenagers they once were, the flame of a first kiss long ago draws them together. Their romance is beginning to grow, but someone is out to destroy Randall and expose all he keeps hidden.
When secrets and rumors thrust Randall into the public eye, his relationship with Noah isn’t the only thing that comes under threat.
Review: When Randall Morgan was thirteen he kissed his best friend of four years, fourteen year old Noah Carroll. Noah’s parents were missionaries on a four year break at home between missions and Noah left with his parents shortly after their first and only kiss. Two decades later, at the age of thirty-five, Randall has struggled to make a life away from the controlling demands of his very rich family. In return for that freedom, he relinquished any inheritance or financial support from his bully of a father, and that was a price well worth paying as far as Randall is concerned.
With the birth of his niece, Bailey, seven years ago, Randall has been slowly pulled back in order to be a part of his precious niece’s life. When Bailey hears the discussions about Randall’s mother’s charity benefit for her latest cause, the Seattle Humane Society, an animal re-homing shelter, she pleads her parents for a puppy. Randall would do anything for his beloved niece, so when Bailey’s father, and Randall’s older half-brother, Dustin refuses his daughter, Randall impulsively tells Bailey that he is getting a dog that she can play with when she comes over to see him. At the insistence of his mother to use her chosen cause of the season, Randall heads to the Seattle Humane Society the very next day. Where he runs into Noah, who returned to Seattle two years before and now works at the shelter. During the twenty-two years between the last time they were together and the fateful reconnection, neither man forgot that kiss and both had been comparing all their other partners to their teenage love, with none being able to measure up.
Son of Money has this kind of soap opera vibe to it. For most of this book, I just coasted along, not really connecting with the characters or the melodrama of the story. I liked it well enough to keep reading, and some action kicked in for the last third or so of the book that kept my interest, but towards the last part of the book there was a line from Noah, saying he felt like they were on an episode of a soap opera show, that actually changed the entire way I saw the story. Up until then I found some of the characters’ behaviours and things that happened pretty unbelievable. When viewed as a soap opera, however, it actually made the grand drama more just some fun rather than simply not believable, because soap operas aren’t meant to be believable. They’re meant to be over the top escapism.
Randall’s family was truly awful. His parents and brother were every bit the soap opera rich and snobby caricatures that you love to hate. There were still a couple of things that didn’t make sense to me – such as Noah going on about not being scared away and that Randall is The One, but he takes off without even talking to Randall when he learns of Randall’s extracurricular escapades with his more handsome male clients of his massage and erotic photography businesses. Then saying he didn’t have a problem with what Randall had got up to before they met again, without offering an explanation as to why he did leave, then. There just didn’t seem to be any point for the whole drama. And I got rather tired of Randall continually putting himself down and calling himself a whore because he enjoyed a lot of sex.
There were things about this book that I really liked. Two scenes in particular stood out to me for their remarkable beauty. One was the wonderful description of Randall and Noah’s first kiss as adults. It showed all the emotion and wonder of their chance reconnection, their history and the hope for their future in one paragraph. The other was the photo shoot with Bailey and Randall’s and Noah’s dogs. The image was so vividly portrayed, with all its charm and whimsical delight, I could actually picture how the photo would look. Oh, and I absolutely loved the brilliant suggestion Noah had for an advertising campaign for the re-homing shelter and its animals. It’s such an incredibly cool idea.
Once I wrapped my head around this book being like a soap opera, I did quite enjoy the story. I liked the characters, even if I didn’t really love any of them. I felt a lack of development in the relationship between Randall and Noah because it happened so quickly, but I did still believe in them as a couple. They were sweet together and I never doubted the love they had for each other. Like a soap opera, Son of Money was a fun bit of escapism.