Book Two of the series A Gia, San Francisco Romance by Stephanie Shea
It’s right after Christmas and we are in sunny and cheerful Australia, inside an airport lounge. Avery, a brokenhearted American girl who spent her Christmas holidays miles and miles away from home, is all but cheerful. The whole trip had been planned to spend time with her long-distance boyfriend Oli, but the knob dumped her right before her plane to Australia took off, leaving Avery with no other choice than travelling there anyway. She obviously didn’t reach Australia in her best mind frame, but she was determined to make the best of this experience. While she did enjoy partying and meeting new people, with the occasional tear here and there, she can’t really say she feels sad when it’s time to go back home to the States.
While she is at the airport bar, waiting for her flight to be announced, she meets a girl, Kyla, who suggests her the best type of coffee to cure a hangover – a coconut iced coffee. Avery follows her suggestion, there is a brief exchange and Avery has the feeling Kyla is flirting, but she doesn’t want to give too much credit to it, even if she feels flattered. It’s not the first time another woman compliments her in such a way, she says to herself. There is no need to have butterflies in her stomach, right? Especially because she will never see Kyla again.
She is so terribly wrong.
In fact, for a weird twist of fate, Kyla is not only on her same plane, but also on the seat next to hers. And since Sidney – San Francisco takes a very long time, what’s wrong with spending it having a chat with your neighbour? Even sharing a kiss that won’t have any future does not feel wrong, even though it leaves them both hungry for more.
Avery stops in San Francisco, where she lives and works at Gia’s Restaurant (the main pillar of the whole book series) while Kyla continues her journey to Rio. She is a travel influencer and, as much as she’d love to stop in San Francisco, she has previous work commitments she needs to attend to. They exchange Instagram handles, leaving a few likes here and there, but it’s not until Kyla’s birthday that they start a message exchange, timid at first but more and more intense as times goes on.
Six months go by and the two girls are once again under the same sky. Kyla is in San Francisco for a whole month, at the end of which she will attend her best friend’s wedding. She knows Avery lives there, but she avoided telling her, wanting to surprise her. When they finally meet, Avery is not only surprised, but also taken aback: what now? Because one thing is online, another is face to face. What she is feeling for Kyla is different under so many points of view. She never had a crush on a woman, but to her memory, she’s never felt anything like that for anyone else before. Is she running recklessly into something new and exciting and maybe a bit crazy just to get over Oli or is there something more?
Destiny will give her a hand to better understand the situation. In fact, on the day they agree to go out for lunch, Avery receives a call from the handyman of the building where she lives: her apartment has a leak. She rushes home, or better, Kyla takes her, only to find out that the leak is, in reality, a proper flood, the ceiling of her living room caved in, water all over the floor and urgent repairs will take at least two weeks. Two weeks where, clearly, she needs to find alternative accommodation. Kyla offers to host her and while Avery has plenty of other options, she accepts. This starts an unexpected cohabitation that will bring them even closer.
The story itself is very pleasant and easy to read, ideal for taking your mind off the stress of everyday life (literature is all about escapism after all). It follows all the typical canons and patterns of romance books and thankfully glides on openly and overly-sexual scenes that can happily be left to the reader’s imagination. There are also some delicate themes throughout the narration: Kyla’s mother is an alcoholic that is trying to get clean again, leaving Kyla to ponder whether she should believe her mother’s good intentions or not; Avery’s parents divorced after her mother discovered that her father had an on-off relationship with another woman that produced a lovechild, Whitney, for whom Avery has mixed feelings – to meet her or not to meet her, that is the question. However, the story comes across as slightly naïve at times: there aren’t many women romance stories out there, and I do understand the genre needs to adhere to specific criteria, but because the literature itself is so scarce, why not populating it with something more than just the traditional clichés? It would give this book a whole new perspective and elevate it to the next level.
Still, it is indeed a page turner, with a very well paced story and the right amount of action and characters’ internal conflict. In fact, we totally look forward to the next book in the series (end of October release) which we will be reviewing very soon!!
The three books in the series A Gia, San Francisco Romance are available for purchase at: https://amzn.to/3gkCles
About Stephanie Shea
Stephanie Shea is a self-proclaimed introvert, who spends her days in corporate daydreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. Her favorite things include binging tv shows, creating worlds where no character is too queer, broken or sensitive, and snacks. Lots of snacks. Someday, she hopes to curb her road rage, and get past her anxiety over social media and author bios.