Entertaining (but also a little ridiculous), this office rivals romance felt like it was strongly influenced by two of my favorite books – The Hating Game and The Spanish Love Deception. Which is good, because I loved those books… but there were also perhaps too many familiar components. That being said, this spins the office rivals situation in a whole new direction, with older leads (36/42) who find themselves making a baby together. When the co-worker you love to hate becomes your new co-parent, it certainly adds a whole different dynamic to the relationship. There’s a lot that I liked about this, from the misunderstood, grumpy hero, to the unique take on the trope and the upbeat vibe. I loved trying to figure out where the story would go next. But I did get whiplash from how quickly they went from enemies/rivals to “let’s make a baby together” and love – it misses on the subtler moments and transitions, but wins on the light and sexy tone.
The story follows Ava, a woman who is ready to have a baby on her own. She’s 36 and single, so now is the time if she ever wants to get pregnant. But just as she makes the decision, Ava’s work life gets turned upside down. After their companies merge, Ava is forced to work with Myles, a man who rubs her the wrong way. Their first meeting didn’t go well, and things have been rocky between them ever since. So it’s a shock to them both when Myles offers to supply the… ah, baby batter… for Ava. Office rivals don’t typically make a baby together – even the non-traditional way – and Ava still isn’t sure that she even likes the man. But spending time together outside of the office changes their whole relationship, and it’s not long before Ava is seeing an entirely different side of Myles.
I can tell that Elks was going for a “he falls first” vibe (which I love), but the execution wasn’t quite as successful as it is in some of my favorite romances – the little swoony moments didn’t make my heart flutter, if you will. It’s entirely possible that other readers will have a different experience. But I really enjoyed the light and sexy feel, I never complain about office rivals, and I found Myles to be super endearing. I loved the way they both complemented each other and related to each other so well, and their ages added an interesting element to the story. This definitely could’ve dug a little deeper, and I think it would’ve been a stronger book if it had – Elks spends time establishing Ava’s dislike of Myles, then BAM, they’re having a baby together. We get little peeks that Myles might feel a certain way about Ava, but it never really goes there. Their office relationship is only briefly explored. For me, that’s where this falls short, but I think a lot of it is great and I enjoyed the journey. It was a solid introduction to this new-to-me author, and an intriguing series starter.
One office. Two enemies. And a secret he cannot find out…
You know that post-vacation glow? Where you’re all sun-kissed and optimistic and determined to make changes in your life?
Well, mine lasted for about five minutes. Until I walked into the office and saw Myles Salinger sitting in my boss’s chair.
One look at his scowling face was enough to make me want to fly straight back to Europe. And no, he’s not getting any of the donuts I brought in for the team. He doesn’t deserve them.
You see, on paper he’s my contemporary. But in reality he’s been my workplace nemesis for the last two years.
Lucky for us we’re usually separated by five hundred miles.
But now he’s here in my face, throwing his impressive weight around and driving everybody crazy with his demands.
Good thing he doesn’t know the big decision I made while I was away.
That I’m going to try for a baby. Alone.
If he ever finds out he’ll never let me hear the end of it.
So let’s keep it between us. Okay?
Strictly Business is a steamy enemies-to-lovers romance. Expect some hot scenes, a little cussing and two characters whose heads you’d love to bang together…
About the Author:
Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.
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