Tailor-Made by Yolanda Wallace is an opposites attract romance between a super stud androgynous woman and the tailor she hires to make a suit for her. If that sounds interesting to you, then you know exactly what I was feeling when I read the blurb for this book!
Grace Henderson has been working for her dad as a high-end tailor, creating custom suits for sports stars and the like. An unusual booking comes in through the website when Grace is hired by Dakota Lane to make a suit for her sister’s wedding. Tall, wiry, and not at all a femme like Grace, Dakota isn’t the kind of woman she’d normally date, and she’s definitely not going to start now since she doesn’t date clients, no matter how charming they are.
Dakota Lane is best known as one of the only women in the world that’s a male model, with the partying lifestyle you’d expect to see of a model in the tabloids. There’s more to her than meets the eye, however, since she holds down a day job as a bicycle messenger and is looking for a quieter life. She may not want a serious relationship, but there’s just something about Grace that Dakota can’t resist. Now if she can only get Grace to give her a chance…
Yolanda Wallace did a fabulous job of developing two complex, interesting women who I found myself investing in and rooting for. They had chemistry from their first encounter, with their relationship development including a compelling push and pull to it as both women were battling between desire for each other alongside other concerns or challenges that could stand in the way of a relationship. They both had character arcs that were very good and I so happy when I saw where they ended up in their epilogue.
The Writing Style
The romance and story unfolds at a nice pace, from that first crackle when they meet, straight through to their happily ever after.
Romance development and character work aside, I actually most loved how Wallace highlighted the challenges that trans people can have when buying clothes. They were explained well and in a way that anyone should be able to understand, without feeling overly informational.
I also loved how, with both Dakota and Grace, she helped shed light on the economic realities of living in New York City if you aren’t super rich. A lot of fiction makes it seem kind of easy, and this just felt a lot more authentic (I say as a Canadian who’s never lived in NYC, so do what you will with that).
There was a whole side storyline for Dakota related to her career that didn’t really add a lot and didn’t feel necessary to her character development. Some of those scenes felt a little flat in the moment and ultimately didn’t pay off for anything significant, so I wondered why they were there.
If you like books related to fashion, or are interested in reading about a dreamy andro woman and the amazing black woman who falls for her (and vice versa!), you will not want to miss this one. It’s sweet and lovely, and just an all around solid romance.
Excerpt from Tailor-Made by Yolanda Wallace
“Do you want me to strip down, or am I fine as is?”
“There’s no need for nudity just yet.”
“But you’ll be sure to let me know if something changes, won’t you?”
Dakota thought the line was pretty good, but it didn’t elicit a smile, let alone a verbal response. Grace simply spread the measuring tape across Dakota’s shoulders and went to work taking the thirty measurements she and her team needed to tailor a suit.
I must be losing my touch, Dakota thought as Grace called out a series of numbers and Lillie carefully recorded them. Grace’s tone was businesslike, but her touch was light. Dakota felt a shiver run down her spine each time Grace repositioned her hands.
“Flex your arm for me.”
Dakota did as requested when Grace stood behind her and wrapped the measuring tape around her bicep. “Welcome to the gun show.” She turned to gauge Grace’s reaction to her quip. “I’ll bet you’ve heard that joke a time or two.”
“You might say that.”
Her beautiful face a blank mask, Grace called out a number for Lillie to record, then measured the length of Dakota’s arms. She paused while Lillie added the new number to the growing list. Dakota enjoyed the respite. She could feel the heat of Grace’s body, and it was all she could do not to press herself against her.
“Now I’m going to measure the fullest part of your chest,” Grace said, giving her fair warning. “Do you want the suit to play up or deemphasize your bust?”
Dakota tried to formulate a response, but she couldn’t think straight with Grace’s arms wrapped around her and the tape pressing against her breasts. She felt her nipples press against her cycling jersey. The form-fitting material did little to hide her growing arousal. Grace was behind her so she couldn’t see the effect her actions were having on her. Lillie, however, was perfectly positioned to see everything.
“This building gets kind of drafty during the winter,” Lillie said with a teasing smile. “If it’s too cold in here for you, I could ask Grace to turn up the heat.”
“No, thanks. I’ll be fine.” And, without even realizing it, Grace was doing just fine ratcheting up the heat on her own. “We’re almost done, aren’t we?”
Lillie’s smile grew broader. “Honey, we’ve barely begun. She hasn’t even started measuring you for the pants yet.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635550818
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Yolanda Wallace Online
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