by Aurora Rey, Julie Cannon, M. Ullrich
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Going to work never felt so good. Three office romance novellas from talented writers Julie Cannon, Aurora Rey, and M. Ullrich.
In For Your Eyes Only by Julie Cannon: Dress for success takes on a very different meaning. CFO Riley Stephenson finds herself in a particularly difficult position when the stripper she's fallen for shows up at her office―as her new employee.
In Lead Counsel by Aurora Rey: Attorney Elisa Gonzalez is happy working behind the scenes while still having time for a life. All that changes when her firm takes on a major case and Parker Jones, powerhouse litigator and her law school crush, is named lead counsel.
In Opportunity of a Lifetime by M. Ullrich: Luca Garner is eager and hardworking, but her new boss is a total nightmare―snarky and uncooperative, not to mention an ice queen. VP Stephanie Austin doesn’t mean to be unkind, but the last thing she wants is an assistant getting under her skin, especially one who is as attractive as she is kind.
I haven’t read many f/f novellas, so when I saw this anthology, I jumped on it. These are all new-to-me authors as well, so I was excited to find some new favorites. While some of these are off-shoots of existing series, all the novellas can be read as standalone.
“Lead Counsel” – Aurora Rey ★★★
“It’s kind of humiliating to want someone who hooked up with you when they were drunk, but the next morning was, ‘eh, no thanks.’ And now she’s my boss. I’d be an absolute idiot to give her even a passing thought.”
For whatever reason, this first story didn’t really work for me. I liked Elisa and Parker, and I liked the backstory of a hookup gone wrong in college and an unrequited crush, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between them. I kept checking to see how many pages were left in this one while reading it.
“I’ve seen the way Parker looks at you.”
So much for being subtle. “How’s that?”
“Like she’s the hero in a Nicholas Sparks movie and you’re the heroine.”
Elisa narrowed her eyes. “Is that a compliment? I can’t tell.”
“For Your Eyes Only” – Julie Cannon. ★★★★
This one has a really interesting POV. It starts out with Riley’s POV. Riley is a CFO who’s, well, she’s been described as “frigid,” and while I don’t think that fits, she is rather introverted and rigid in her ways – for instance, she likes having her shirts tucked in all the time. She’s having a not-so-great time at her best friend’s birthday party until Jess, the stripper, arrives. Something between Riley and Jess clicks right away, and after a bit of deliberation, Riley calls and schedules a private dance with Jess, then another, then another. This being a work-related anthology, I think you can figure out where this is going. The second half of the story rewinds and retells the same events from Jess’s POV, until the big reveal, when it switches to a dual third-person POV. There’s so much chemistry between Riley and Jess, though it does end a bit suddenly, but on a HFN. I really wished this was longer – I wanted to know how they would overcome their issues.
“Opportunity of a Lifetime” – M. Ullrich. ★★★★
“Sometimes we all need a moment of weakness to remind us of how strong we really are.”
I think this was my favorite, and the one that had the most angsty work-related dilemmas. Stephanie is one of LGR Financial’s top hot-shot forensic accountants, and the last thing she needs is an assistant – she works best alone. Luca is surprised to be assigned to Stephanie, who has a bit of a reputation at the office, and then frustrated when it’s obvious that Stephanie wants nothing to do with her. The author, however, manages to straddle the line with making the reader frustrated for Luca without paining Stephanie as a complete bitch. This was my favorite of the three novellas, and it felt almost like a full-length book. There’s a lot of character development, and a ton of intensely delightful sexual tension. I finished out the novella feeling like they had a solid chance at a HEA.
Overall, this was a fun anthology, with mostly strong stories. I’d give it 4 stars overall.