“Evie’s in denial, trying to convince herself that she hates Carter.”
“Ohhhh. I like Carter…”
“You realize he’s my nemesis, right?”
This book started out as a light-hearted romantic comedy, before taking a turn into seriously angsty territory, and then rolling out incredibly important themes that made it such an relevant story to be told today. I was so impressed with this story — not only was it entertaining and enjoyable, it also sent a strong message. A truly fantastic read!
The writing was absolutely outstanding. Every few pages, I’d literally make these little notes to myself commenting on how amazing and strong the writing was. The words flowed, the characterizations and descriptions were vivid, and it all rounded out by great editing. The pacing was on point, and the story was structured in such a way where I felt like I could see everything playing in my mind like a movie. It was snappy, witty, intelligent, and addictive!
Carter and Evie were both very strong, career-driven character and I loved their chemistry. I could feel it and my heart pitter-pattered through most of their scenes together. Their draw towards each other was palatable and I really loved their romance. Plus, I felt that the story gave a really fresh, modern portrayal of adulthood.
“Hey, Evil,” he says, walking toward me.
It doesn’t feel weird to reach up and hug him.
He wraps his arms all the way around me, and I shiver a little when I feel the solidness of his body against mine.
“It’s so good to see you.”
“You too,” I say.
… I know how relationships work. My mom reminds me of this all the time, and of the balance it takes for two people to combine their lives into one. But I’ve always felt like it shouldn’t be work right away. Over time, yeah, I can see some effort needing to come into play when the honeymoon phase wears off… But initially, being with someone should feel like the best and most natural thing in the world.
I’ve never felt that chemistry before, but I definitely feel it with Carter. My blood hums just being near him, and I can’t stop grinning. He smells amazing and holds me so tight, squeezing a little more just before letting go.
Straightening, he gazes down at my face. “I think I forgot how pretty you are.”
So the story itself is about these two rival Hollywood agents who are both single — married to their work if anything. They’ve both sacrificed and worked hard to get to where they are and their respective reputations within their industry have been well earned. They’re introduced at a party one night through a mutual friend and hit it off strong.
“You know I’m hoping to kiss you later, no matter how many dorky pictures you show me.”
My heart takes off, a beating drum in the wild jungle beneath my ribs. “I’m older than you,” I blurt.
He just shrugs, like this was a completely normal thing to say. “So?”
“We’re in the same business.”
I watch him process this for a breath, and he chews on his lip before saying, “Maybe it’s not ideal, but it’s not worth staying away from you because of it.”
… “I’m notoriously married to my job.”
“That’s super convenient because so am I. It’ll be like we’re cheating on our jobs with each other.” He says this as if he’s just discovered some brilliant loophole.
After their first date confirms that their sizzling chemistry is something they both want to pursue, they’re happily and dreamily heading into dating-ville when an unexpected and shocking change uproots their lives.
Their rival agencies merge overnight and suddenly they’re being forced to compete for the same coveted position. They both need this job, they’ve both dedicated their lives to get this far, and they both have everything to lose and are determined not to give up. So their budding romance quickly turns into a competitive sabotage driven war…
“Simply put, Evelyn Abbey is my former almost-girlfriend-turned-archnemesis-turned-tentative-ally whom I would now very much like to permanently seduce…”
So… I kind of went into this book expecting the whole thing to be a light-hearted, sexy enemies-to-lovers romp — almost more of a fun, fluffy read. And yes, many parts of it were that. But there was a really cleverly-written undertone that really MADE this book in my eyes — and that was tackling the issue of sexism in the workplace. I don’t think there’s a woman alive who won’t relate on some level to what Evie went through in this book.
There is an unspoken pecking order in agenting, defined primarily by who brings in the most publicity and money — and this year, that is likely to be me.
But there are other factors, too. Such as: having a penis. Apparently that’s a big one.
At first, before I realized it to be one of the book’s themes, I was just annoyed with how her boss was treating her — I thought his misogynist treatment of her was being used as a way to stir up drama. But the more I read, the more I realized just how IMPORTANT that element of this story was. How relevant. How incredibly fucking real it was. I was MAD. ANGRY. The way her boss treated her made my blood boil. In part, my drive to keep reading was just as much a visceral desire to see him get his comeuppance as it was my investment in the romance. And I was so impressed with the way this storyline was used to bringing attention to workplace sexism. And the reason its portrayal was so well done was because of how SUBTLE it was. There were no over-the-top outrageousl things her boss did — it was aaaaaall about the subtleties and little comments, little actions. So seeing Carter come to realize what was happening and seeing him choose how to handle it was incredible satisfying as a female reader.
“Carter, look at this from my side. No one ever told a guy he needs to be nicer at work to get ahead… I tried nice, Carter,” she says, “and here I am, fighting to keep my job — a job I’m more qualified for, if we’re being honest.”
And on a lighter note, there was a lot more to this book than that theme (even though for me, that was the standout part of the story) and overall it was a really great read. I didn’t want to put it down. I was rooting for the romance and found myself strangely invested in even their work lives (which is rare for me, since usually I only really care about the romance) but I definitely credit the writing for the fact that all aspects of this story were interesting. The writing was easily 5 STARS. However, I did find both the ending and the ‘reveal’ to be predictable so while nothing really came as a surprise to me, I still have to give major kudos to the authors for making this book addictive even though I knew what was going to happen. In a perfect world, I would have wanted the ending to have a bit more of a triumphant ‘oooomph’ and to surprise me a little, but even still, it delivered a satisfying and solid ending!
This was a complete standalone told in alternating POVs in first person perspective. It had both a fun, flirty, light-hearted, and sexy side to it, as well as a much more serious and raw undertone. I really enjoyed it!
This book delivered the perfect blend of smart writing, sexy romance, and an addictive story! Whether you’re a long-time fan of these authors or you’re new to them, I’d definitely recommend trying this out!
Rating: 4.5 stars! Standalone Contemporary Romance
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