Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
A Wonderful Piece of Dark Mahogany is a new adult contemporary romance novel written by Ju Ephraime. Mel Molyneux dreaded being late for the bus she took to get to work, and she equally felt constrained to rush for the bus when her daily job as a paralegal was over. Mel enjoyed her work and felt she made a difference in the small law firm where she worked, but the commute was another story entirely. A crowded bus could mean casual sexual abuse by male passengers who would often take advantage of being close to a young woman, and the experience left her feeling dirty and violated.
Mel was rushing off for the afternoon bus when she ran straight into what felt like a wall, but it wasn’t. Mel looked up to discover a handsome man bemusedly smiling down at her, but what caused her breath to catch in her throat were his eyes. They were golden and had her thinking that he was somehow some sort of large exotic feline who had assumed human form. Just about everything seemed perfect about this stranger with the looks and grace of a model. He was even taller than she was, a rare occurrence in St. Lucia, the small Caribbean island that was her homeland, and his body was exquisitely chiseled. That chance encounter led to a strange yet cherished acquaintanceship as Craig made a point of waiting for her at the bus stop each afternoon. Mel soon found that her life began to revolve around those precious few minutes that they’d get to spend together.
Ju Ephraime’s new adult contemporary romance novel, A Wonderful Piece of Dark Mahogany, combines elements of sweet and erotic romance as 23-year-old Mel Molyneux finally finds the man of her dreams. Ephraime’s story was of particular interest to me because of her inclusion of so many aspects of the culture and lifestyle of the inhabitants of St. Lucia, a lovely Caribbean island where modern culture and traditions seem to work hand-in-hand. While there are some erotic passages in this story, and growing sexual tension throughout, the story maintains a sweet new adult flavor because of both Mel’s innocence and the genuine love Craig and Mel share. At no point in this story was there gratuitous sex or eroticism for its own sake. While I’ve not read Ephraime’s debut novel, The Human Element, where Mel and Craig first appear, I found this novel works quite well as a standalone. A Wonderful Piece of Dark Mahogany is most highly recommended.