by Fiona Riley
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Olivia Dawson is in a personal and creative rut when her interior design team nets a contract that could change everything. Olivia grabs the chance to reignite her passion, to step outside her comfort zone, and to achieve national exposure if she delivers everything the client expects.
Savannah Quinn fled a broken heart and started fresh in a new city, at a new job, without any of her past in the rearview. Her new position as corporate liaison to Olivia and her team is exactly the distraction she’s looking for. She doesn’t have to settle into her empty apartment if she’s never there, right? And she can’t be betrayed if she never asks for forever.
Long days in strange cities bring Olivia and Savannah closer, but keeping their growing attraction separate from their professional relationship feels impossible.
I’m just going to start out this review by letting you know there’s carousel sex in this book, and if that doesn’t sell you on it, I don’t know what will.
“Do they usually call you after hours?”
“More often than I’d like, unfortunately.”
Olivia nodded and frowned at the sad tone in Savannah’s response. She lifted her head and looked at her while she gestured playfully between them. “You know, taking a little work home with you sometimes isn’t so bad.”
Savannah smiled and pressed her lips to Olivia’s. “This kinda work after hours is never a bother, trust me.”
I’m not sure if it’s just a super popular category in f/f romance, or if I just tend to gravitate toward it, but I’ve been reading a ton of lesbian workplace romances lately. Olivia and her team are renowned for their eco-focused workplace designs – think zen areas with waterfalls and special lighting that bring nature into your average cookie cutter cubicle farm. They’re already on the rise, but a trial contract with a big firm to remodel three sites could really increase their profile. It’s already looking to be a bit of a challenge, with lots of travel, tight deadlines, and unexpected site issues, but the last thing Olivia is expecting is the deep attraction she feels for Savannah, the client liaison. But they’ve got to spend the next few months working closely with each other, and both realize that a fling-gone-bad could cause all sorts of issues. As their relationship deepens, will they give love a chance, or does their relationship have an expiration date at the end of the project?
What really stood out to me in the book was the chemistry and heat level. Oh my goodness, do these two have some serious chemistry, and there were some super steamy scenes, including the aforementioned carousel sex. There were a few that didn’t work so much – that piano scene, among other seriously public displays of affection that seemed out of character for both women – but for the most part, woohoo, I was fanning myself. Leading up to all this sex, though, was a delicious slow burn, full of lots of absolutely adorable flirting. The steaminess isn’t at the expense of their relationship, either, and the end of the book left me with the happy feeling that they were a couple whose HEA I believed in.
“Olivia pressed her index finger to her lip in thought, then replied, “Um, there may be a daydream about the drafting table that seems to continually occur…”
Savannah quirked an eyebrow at her. That was it. She would never look at a drafting table the same way again. And considering they would be around a lot of drafting tables the next few months, that would make things very difficult. Savannah frowned as that thought went from a very naughty place to one of a painful realization: they were going to have to continue to work together, for months.”
But before they get to that ending, of course, there’s all the obstacles they have to overcome. Number one, of course, is their professionalism. Neither want to either show favoritism or impede the progress of the project, so they initially try to ignore the heat between them. I thought the major conflict at the end of the book was realistic, if predictable, and I enjoyed Savannah’s solution to it. The secondary characters were excellent. I loved Olivia’s team, and Olivia’s and Savannah’s interactions with their families (Olivia’s sister and niece, and Savannah’s brother and his girlfriend) were highlights of the book for me. Though Reagan’s fratgirl attitude annoyed the heck of me, I still appreciated what she added to the story, along with Olivia’s boss.
Overall, this was a steamy, fun read, and very much recommended. I’ll definitely be looking up more of Ms. Riley’s books!