Take a highly successful interior designer who also happens to be
African American, add a very attractive and devoted boyfriend and
an older sexy boss, and you get Lori Bryant-Woolridge’s HITTS
& MRS. Before the book ends, Melanie Hitts will need to make a
decision between the two before she loses both.
The story begins with the engagement party of Melanie and her
fiancé Will Freedman. It had been a whirlwind courtship of
only a few months, but it felt right --- or at least it felt right
to Will. Melanie, however, is having second thoughts. She finds her
opportunity to voice her concerns during this very important party
of her life, announcing to everyone, including Will, that she
cannot go through with the engagement. It is a night that no one is
going to forget.
Melanie thought she had it all --- loving boyfriend, a successful
career, and a family she loved. But when Will decides to surprise
Melanie with a brand new house in town, she realizes that if he
REALLY knew her, he would have known that she had no desire to stay
in her home town of Washington D.C. Her heart was back in New York,
where she was building a career as an interior designer, and
although her family was in D.C., she had no desire to stay. Making
this big decision for the both of them without consulting her made
Melanie realize that she couldn’t marry a man who
didn’t know anything about her. Breaking off the engagement
was the best thing she could do.
Melanie returns to New York and throws herself into her career. She
helps land a big account for the design firm she works for, BenAlex
Design Group, with one of the most sought-after architecture
companies in the world, Carlson and Tuck. At the meeting where she
helps land the deal, she meets the gruff and tough John Carlson,
the president and owner of the company. Although they start off on
the wrong foot, they soon find out that they have a lot in common.
Their love of art is something they share, as well as their passion
for their work.
One thing they don’t have in common, however, is their skin
color. Melanie is black and John is white. John is also a lot older
and happens to be happily married to his wife Sharon. The sparks
fly, but they keep the relationship as platonic as possible. They
partake in long talks at the office and on business trips, and
participate in heart-to-heart chats that they share only with each
other. They become best friends and call each other soul mates. And
slowly they fall in love with each other. Although they feel that
they are not doing anything wrong, they keep their relationship
hidden from the prying world, knowing that no one would understand
the type of relationship they have.
The plot becomes more complex when Melanie’s friend Candace
is thrown into the equation. Candace is known to pursue married
men, and after all this time, Melanie is now finding herself in the
same boat, believing that her own situation is quite different from
Candace’s. But is it really? Is it different just because
Melanie has not had sex with either her boyfriend or her boss? This
is the heart of the matter of HITTS & MRS., and Melanie battles
this out in her head, thinking that she can keep this relationship
and her boyfriend, Will, as well.
While I felt that not all of the characters rang true, for the most
part I enjoyed the story line. This was quite the departure from
your average run-of-the-mill romance. The extra-marital affair in
this book is treated as something wonderful, and Melanie is truly
put in a different light from the cheating and manipulative best
friend Candace. There are a few sex scenes that are erotically
charged and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but HITTS &
MRS. is more a story of the heart than a physical
“sexcapade” that it could have become. The secondary
story of Sharon Carlson and her friendship with an emotionally
abandoned young teenager enhances the love story of Melanie and
John, although at first this plot line seemed to come out of the
blue with no purpose whatsoever.
Overall, though, I would give HITTS & MRS. 4 out of 5 stars for
its unique story and perspective, dealing with both relationship
and racial issues.
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton (Ratmammy@lofton.org) on January 22, 2011