If you liked The Spanish Love Deception or The Hating Game, these workplace romances might be for you! These characters fall in love with people they work with, even when they don’t get along at first.
Lauren Clegg is burned out- that’s why she’s on vacation. Unfortunately, her annoying cousin calls in a favor, asking her to work as a minder for one of the actors on his hit show. Alexander Woodroe, the star in question, has the studio jittery, so Lauren is paid a premium to keep him out of trouble. Despite her reluctance, Lauren finds that the care-free actor is a kind, generous man, and that Alex has depths beyond his good looks. But a lot more is at stake than their feelings; Alex’s floundering career, for one. With a lot on the line, Alex has a road trip to prove to Lauren that there’s more to them than just friends and coworkers.
Fans of Spoiler Alert will love this book. Alex is witty, charming, and hilarious, a sweet character with a lot of heart. He deals with a lot of problems, and he’s imperfect, but that makes him all the more real. His triumphs are better for his failures, and his progress matters because it’s so hard-won. Lauren is tough, but she’s also vulnerable, and she’s in a transitional part of her life. Lauren has to figure out boundaries that are comfortable for her, and not allow herself to be steamrolled, even by people she cares about. I love the themes in this story of healing, compromise, and new beginnings.
Eve Brown can’t settle on something. She’s a jack of all trades, master of none. Nothing can really hold her interest, and even when she succeeds, she can’t stick with a job. Finally, her parents put their feet down. Her trust fund will be frozen until she can grow up and settle on a career. Hurt, Eve goes for a drive, only to find a small town bed and breakfast in need of a chef. Through a series of mishaps, she ends up injuring her potential employer, and ends up staying out of guilt. Jacob is the owner of the inn, and he immediately knows Eve will not be a good fit. He has few choices, so he decides to give her a trial run. Despite his expectations, Eve charms the guests and makes great breakfasts. The only trouble is that Jacob doesn’t just like Eve, he finds himself growing attached to her. Eve doesn’t stay, doesn’t stick to things. Is it possible she’s found something she can finally commit to?
Eve is such a delight, a character who embodies a ray of sunshine. She’s so much fun without sacrificing depth. Jacob is the grumpy to her sunshine, and an expert grump at that. He’s really guarded, and that makes sense given his history and his previous relationships. It’s so enjoyable to read them opening up to each other and Jacob in particular is a stellar romance hero. He’s thoughtful and kind but comes off so differently to people who don’t know him yet. This book just shines. It is the last book in the Brown Sisters series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Portia Hobbs has an internship with a Scottish armory, the latest of her pursuits, but the most far-flung. She’s studied any number of disciplines, and due to her trust fund, she doesn’t have to worry about money. Unfortunately, family pressure is starting to get to her, and Portia isn’t sure she’s doing anything with her life. So, sword making in Scotland. She gets off to a great start by pepper-spraying her gorgeous boss in the face on her first day. Said gorgeous boss is Tavish McKenzie- a Scottish silver fox with a prickly personality. The tension between them ratchets up, but then Portia makes an unexpected discovery about Tavish’s parentage, a discovery that will change both of their lives.
Tavish and Portia are both great point-of-view characters, and each brings their unique worldview to the story. Portia is opinionated, competent and intelligent, but hasn’t found her thing yet. She also has a lot of trouble prioritizing herself, which is something she and Tav have to work through if they want a future together. Tav himself has issues to work through when it comes to his heritage, his place in the world, and the kind of life he wants. This is an amazing story about two characters finding each other, and not only falling in love, but choosing to love one another.
Perdie Stone is a lawyer on the brink of becoming a partner at her firm, and that’s all she needs to be focusing on. She’s got her best friend/platonic life partner for companionship, she’s not looking for a man. So, what’s the harm in a one-night stand with Carter Leplan, a hot lawyer she meets on a business trip? The harm, in fact, shows up when he snags the coveted partner slot out from under her. Perdie isn’t impressed, but Carter seems to want to get to know her better. It’s too bad that by stealing her job, he’s her sworn enemy.
Perdie is a grown woman living her own life, and that makes a really fun protagonist. It’s great to read about someone who knows what they want and has a plan to achieve it. The reader really feels for her when it comes to sexism in the workplace, an all too common experience for women in male-dominated fields. Carter is a winning love interest who knows Perdie’s worth and isn’t afraid to talk about his feelings, excellent qualities in a leading man.
Shay Goldstein has been in public radio for ten years, but her workplace tranquility is at risk. Dominic Yun is a new hire and is getting on her last nerve. Not only is he pressing all of her buttons, but they’re competing for studio resources. When her boss suggests that they compromise their morals a bit by lying to listeners about their relationship, Shay’s ethics twinge. She doesn’t want to pretend to be exes with Dominic just to make good radio, but she’s worried about her career. They both have something to prove, so they agree to the charade, pretending to be exes who work together and give relationship advice on the radio. But the course of public radio never did run smooth, and as the fake exes spend more time together, Shay and Dominic find themselves redefining their relationship.
Anyone who has a love for podcasts or public radio will get a real kick out of this romance. This book also deals with the loss of a parent, though it isn’t on-page. Shay is a really compelling character, and I really loved reading about a Jewish woman finding love. Dominic is a really great love interest, and his personality clashes with Shay make the reader really buy them as adversaries before they get to know each other.