Reserved Maura plays it safe. She's turning thirty and never once considers “turning up” on her special day. Turning up, the idea of partying and having a good time like many young professionals who work hard and play harder is not what Maura's thing. She prefers a good book in the comfort of her home. The adopted daughter of college professors, Maura senses their urgency in matching her with a nice young man with the proper credentials. Her aunt and uncle adopted her after her parents died in an accident. Maura's been with them since she was six-years-old. They have expectations for Maura, for both her career and love life. Sadly, Maura hasn't realized that everyone has a right to their personal life journey.
Maura's been putting in extra hours in her accountant position at Cherry Lane, a retirement center. Her hopes pinned on a title upgrade to general manager. The last place she expects to find romance is at work.
This year, the universe has other plans for Maura Mahoney. Even quiet, play by the rules Maura takes a second glance when “bad boy” Jesse Blue shows up at Cherry Lane on a Sunday while she is filling in for a co-worker.
Sleek and handsome with a rugged take-no-stuff, aura, Jesse watches Maura with curiosity as she listens to his lawyer explain why Jesse is standing in front of her. Fresh out of jail for assault, Jesse has to fulfill community service hours as part of his probation requirements.
Maura takes in his handsome face, shoulder length black hair, and chiseled body and with her own quiet brand of curiosity. She wonders to herself why she is feeling so flushed. This motorcycle rider, with a jail record could only mean trouble. Maura tried to focus on what the lawyer was saying. The whole time wondering if turning thirty might not bring some added perks.
With the right questions Maura is able to find out bits and piece of who Jesse is, while using her fill-in human resource title for leverage. Jesse doesn't like to read, he prefers movies and TV. (He is functionally literate, having dropped out of high school in the tenth grade), he doesn't volunteer why he was in jail (he did something!). Maura, an avid reader can't imagine being involved with someone who doesn't read in the pursuit of knowledge and for pleasure.
Even with her guard up, Jesse is able to persuade Maura to spend time with him outside of work. She still has burning questions and decides to play detective and watch Jesse. On a Saturday afternoon she heads to his place and finds him shooting hoops at a neighborhood court. She learns Jesse, serves as a volunteer with troubled boys. When the pick up game is over she watches as Jesse leaves the court with his arm wrapped around a woman. Was he married? And the kid he tossed into the air who had a giggle spasm, was that his son?
Maura can hardly wait to get back to Cherry Lane to get the skinny on Jesse's file. Nothing about his marital status is listed. Her feelings hurt, Maura reverts back to a judgmental state and decides that Jesse is not a good fit to work with elderly residents after all. Not with a criminal history.
Jesse's integrity is called into question as Maura prepares to release him from his responsibilities at Cherry Lane. As she asks detailed questions about his record and the assault charge he is lays his cards on the table. Jesse explains that he would absolutely kick ass again if the same type of situation presented itself. His female friend had been hospitalized too many times from being beat down by her loser boyfriend. Jesse explains all of this as Maura listens and learns, that you can't always judge a book by its cover.
It looks like thirty is going to be a good year for Maura, afterall. She decides to give Jesse a real chance and lets her guard down. Still a bit up tight, she lets her hair down a bit with Jesse. One never knows where body heat may lead, but Maura aims to find out.
Best part of story, including ending:
I did not like that Maura was such a goody-two shoes. She was educated but socially immature.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Jesse stood up for himself while Maura grilled him on his reason for catching an assault case.
Opinion about the main character:
I disliked that Maura looked at the world in simplistic black and white terms.