RHONY Ain't Got Nothing On Naomi!
Hey all! Welcome back!!
New review in the works today! Hope y'all are ready for it!!
So I was recently approached by a publicist for an author named Lauren Layne and asked me if I would be interested in reading her latest book Passion on Park Ave. And let me tell you.... I am so happy she reached out! The book was phenomenal. So lets start with the plotline. PS This story is staged in NYC which automatically makes it stellar story. Continuing on!
Once again there will be spoilers in the synopsis!!
So we start the story out with Naomi whose standing in front of a church for a funeral. We come to find out Naomi's FWB has recently passed away and that he also has a wife that Naomi finds out about while reading about the accident in the paper. She makes it inside for a moment but changes her mind and leaves and walks into Central Park and sees a woman on a bench who turns out to be Claire Hayes the deceased wife. Naomi tells Claire who she is and is surprised when she is not met by anger. While the two talk a third woman named Audrey appears who had been dating the deceased. The women from their bond agree to take care of each other and help find each other quality men.
ALRIGHT. I have to say something about this before moving forward. This right here is women building each other up. A man takes advantage of three women and instead of these ladies being petty and taking it out on each other they band together to help one another get over the BS. I'm sorry I loved this scene. The dialogue between the women is truthful and harsh but when they became friends it was just a truly entertaining moment.
Back to the story...
So this is where we find out Naomi's background and more about her character. Which includes her being a self made billionaire from a successful accessory company as well as growing up poor with a less then put together mother. We also find out that her company is in the process of moving building as well as Naomi moving homes. She then finds out that before her mom passed away she put in an application for Naomi to be considered to possibly move into the prestigious 517 Park Avenue apartments. Now this is where is becomes intense. Naomi's mother used to work as a live in maid for a family in this complex.
And even though she has already rented a new home she goes to the interview and is met with Oliver Cunningham...the son of the man her mother worked for! Naomi recognizes Oliver immediately as the boy who sold her mother out and caused her to lose her job as well as be blacklisted. She antagonizes him through the interview still angry with him due to their past and his lack of memory of her. She storms out of the interview but Oliver cannot shake the feeling of being drawn to Naomi. And he pushes her application through.
While packing up her office to prepare for the move, Naomi is approached by a TV producer looking to make a show about her life. Dylan Day introduces himself and asked Naomi to dinner to talk about the show as a ruse for asking her on a date. Audrey and Claire show up to help Naomi and run off Dylan. They tell Naomi to be careful as per their pact. After working through an issue of Claire's, involving the watch her dead husband gave her, Naomi receives a phone call from 517 letting her know she was pushed on to the second round of interviews. And Naomi decides she wants the apartment if only to get revenge against Oliver's womanizing father, Walter.
We then flash to Oliver who has just gotten home to his father who is suffering from Alzheimer's. And we learn a little more about Oliver's journey since his and Naomi's childhood. As well as learn more about Walter's disease and Walter himself. A neighbor then shows up and asked Oliver to vote on the new tenant which has been narrowed down to Naomi and an older couple. He votes Naomi obviously.
Now we flash forward a few days to Naomi explaining to Claire and Audrey about why she is moving uptown instead of down. She begins to recount living in the building as well as how her and Oliver grew up together and hated each other. She also reveals why her mother was let go from the Cunningham house... Oliver's father and her mother were having an affair. And that she once caught them doing the deed as did Oliver. But... when Oliver's mother finds out of the affair and is accusing her husband... he denies everything and says the her mother attempted to seduce him. Naomi then begs Oliver to tell his mother what they saw and Oliver pretends he has no idea what she's talking about. While continuing the convo there is a knock at the door... guess who! Oliver is there with an expensive bottle of champagne.
So at this point Naomi and Oliver get into it, mainly Naomi making snide remarks and being snarky. She then pours the champagne into a coffee mug which becomes this super cute thing between the two of them Claire knows Oliver from out and around through her husband and it is revealed to Oliver how the women all know each other. At this point Naomi tells off Oliver and sends him on his way but after a few minutes Naomi leaves a note and a mug of champagne on Oliver's door step as a peace offering.
At this point Naomi has finished unpacking and grossing over the fact she's attracted to the enemy when she hears a noise in the hallway and she runs into a very confused and pantless Walter Cunningham. She assists him back to her flat and cleverly tricks him into giving her his medical bracelet to call Oliver who rushes home. Oliver reveals to Naomi the extent of his disease and how hard its been for him.He also tells Naomi about the cancer his mom suffered from and her death. There's a good amount of cute and cheeky banter here that I won't ruin but OMGEE guys these two are just too much. Naomi goes back on the defensive and she sends the Cunningham's on their way.
Naomi goes on her "dinner work date" with Dylan whose still attempting to convince her to let him make his show. He walks her home after their date where Naomi spots Oliver on a date as well. She is jealous and agrees to another date with Dylan in hopes to spite Oliver. She uncomfortably tries to avoid Oliver which doesn't work and they have yet another flirting encounter in Naomi's apartment where their chemistry grows and begins to build.
SIDE NOTE: The author does an amazing job with these two's back and forth being both playful and harshly honest. The give and take between the two feels so nature without one of the characters ending up with the upper hand.
At this point Audrey holds an impromptu party where Naomi takes Dylan and Claire brings Oliver forcing them to be together again. The party goes well and they pressure Naomi and Oliver to walk home together. Naomi and Oliver discuss more about his dad and his growing up and Oliver tells Naomi how he feels about Dylan who spent the majority of the party trying to get info about Naomi in a sleezey kinda way. Naomi again to spite Oliver decides she is going to do the TV show.
The next day Naomi is running in hopes to rid herself of the Cunningham men but as she finishes she finds Walter has escaped his apartment again. She attempts to return him to his home and comes face to face with a nearly naked Oliver who admits he had attempted a shower while his dad seemed invested in a show. AND SO IT BEGINS!!! Lust is growing guys you know what that means! Anyway between him being naked and her being covered in sweat they agree to make breakfast for Walter there's more banter when someone calls Oliver to let him know a Serena is there for him turns out she is another nurse to help with Walter. Naomi offers to help out with care as well which Oliver begins to turn down as the new caretaker shows up running Naomi off. As the adjustment period begins Walter tells Oliver he doesn't like Serena and that he wants Naomi. This triggers Oliver to go and barter with Naomi, first asking her to help but telling her she needs to decide where they stand. She chickenly agrees to being friends... *eyeroll* COME ON GIRL!!!! They banter and she begins to cook them dinner in which Oliver helps. They continue to flirt and feel each other out and Naomi agrees to watch Walter the next day.
Girls night where Naomi fills in A & C on all things Cunningham and all the women agree to begin dating more. As her friends begin to knock on Dylan and questioning his motives. the girls then tell her just how much Oliver is into her. Flash forward a day and Naomi and company are arguing terms about the show where she makes them swear to leave her time at 517 Park Avenue alone.
Naomi's date with Dylan approaches and she begins to dread it but gets ready and looks hot. She goes to leave and runs into Oliver.... guys this is the most intense first kiss scene I've read in a while. I mean I felt a spike in heart rate and my knees got weak. He kisses her (I'm leaving it at that because READ IT) and then leaves her to go on her date. Both of them obsess over the kiss and Oliver's buddy gives him advice on how to disarm Naomi and bring down her defenses little by little. Meanwhile Naomi is struggling with Walter and one of his bad days and Oliver returns home and takes his buddy's advice and it leads to another steamy kissing scene. Ladies and gents (if your here too) Layne def knows her way around a kiss! Walter walks in and doesn't recognize Naomi and refers to her as the help and causally ribs his son on messing around with her. She leaves angry and hurt that Oliver didn't correct him.
Naomi tours her new office and is brought flowers from a "stranger" but brought to her by Oliver. Who before leaving drops another major bomb on Naomi regarding a past relationship and his father. We then move to Naomi giving Claire advice on her upcoming date and confiding in her that she is falling for Oliver. Then that bolt of realization hits and she runs to him!!!
Guys we all know what happens next and this post is getting hella long so here is the shortened revised edit of the next like 20 pages. Naomi shows up at Oliver's and they milky discuss what is happening between them and they finally do the dirty! The build up to the moment is extremely tasteful and so very intense that even for it not being graphic (in the good way crazies) it was still an amazingly written scene. BUT they then discuss things and Naomi backs up and begins to run. Thankfully she brings herself back from the edge and rushes back to be with Oliver. After a full day of work Oliver rushes home to find Naomi on the flood bloody at the head and his father missing. He transports her to the hospital and finds his father... but also finds out who Naomi really is.... he begins to piece the puzzle together and sees that Naomi had been out for revenge... he breaks things off with her and doesn't speak to her again. Walter is sent to a home for those with Alzheimer's. Naomi visit's and Oliver see her there after giving her permission too. Later he shows up at her new place not at 517 Park Avenue and tells her that he loves her.
There is an epilogue and I'll leave it a secret...but if you still here....
I absolutely loved this story guys. The characters grew and changed and took responsibility for their damages and the past. The story is rich with so many layers through out the entire book. And Naomi realizing there's more to life then revenge and that everyone deserves a second chance is something everyone can relate to. I adored both Naomi and Oliver's characters because they had so much depth to them. It was just a top notch love story with a mild sizzle that made it even better.
Passion On Park Avenue gets 4 and a half stars from me and the only reason it didn't get the full 5 is because I like a little more sexy but overall I have nothing but good things to say!!
So thank you if you held on til the end with me!
These pages take me places and I cannot wait to see where we go next!!