This light, quick, and clean read reminded me of a Hallmark movie in print form, with a meet cute, some playful banter, a few obstacles in the way of happiness, and an ending that will make you smile. I personally didn’t connect with the very internalized writing style, but it’s a sweet, heartwarming read.
The story follows Cleo, an employee at a book store that’s in the process of being bought out by a larger business. When the representative of that business, Mark, visits the store, he soon realizes that it’s unlike any book store he’s ever been in – and whether or not that’s a good thing has yet to be decided. As Cleo tries to win Mark over to the small town way of running a book store, sparks fly between them.
I enjoyed the sweetness of the story and the playful banter between these two. It’s a short book, just longer than novella-length, so there’s not a ton of depth to the relationship. I would’ve loved more focus on these two rather than some of the distracting subplots, though when they’re together it was pretty sweet. The subplots combined with the writing style detracted from the romance, but it’s a cute book and a nice, easy read. I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Just as free-spirited bookstore employee Cleo Davis faces closure of her beloved shop, the owner informs her it will continue as part of the successful Stephens chain. When the chain’s risk assessor, the very reserved, very attractive Mark Stephens, enters the store to look over her business plan, Cleo clashes with him right away. Oil and water have nothing on them.
Mark has always followed the rules. But the minute he steps into vibrant and spunky Cleo’s store, he knows he’s in trouble. One moment he’s in her “craft corner” painting bookends with kids, the next in a bidding war with Cleo at a charity auction. He can’t deny that opposites attract, and Cleo’s vivacious personality has him rethinking his life in more ways than one.
But when Cleo’s store officially becomes part of the bookstore chain, Mark will become her boss…and completely off limits.