⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ REVIEW: The Companion Project by Chelsea Curto

Unconventional meet cutes, falling before meeting face-to-face, and texting in romances are all like catnip to me, so this had me completely hooked in the first half. After reading and enjoying Curto’s debut, An Unexpected Paradise, I had an idea of how this playboy-tamed romance would go. We knew that the hero is relationship-adverse but seems to have a soft spot for his co-worker, and I was intrigued by how things would progress. So I was very surprised when it ended up being softer, sweeter, and MUCH more texting-focused than anticipated. The first half has pages upon pages of our couple falling without meeting first (at least that they knew of, lol), and I loved watching this playboy hero bond with a woman for the first time. It has him completely out of his element, and it was almost syrupy sweet at times. In the back half, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit, but it didn’t delve deep enough into certain aspects of their relationship – like the fact that the hero has been thinking of the heroine since high school, but he slept with a different woman every night until they started texting. I needed a better explanation in order to be cool with that scenario. So there were definitely a few weak spots in the story, but there’s a whole lot that worked for me.

The story follows Henry, a man who has never dated. Sure, he sleeps with women regularly, but he’s never attempted to take it any further than that. So when he finds himself telling his mom that he’ll be bringing his girlfriend to a family event, Henry is not sure what to do. A friend suggests the services of a woman who attends events as a fake date as her side hustle, so Henry reaches out to the mystery woman. Since the event is a few months away and it’ll require more knowledge of each other than usual, Henry’s mystery woman suggests that they get to know each other better before meeting face-to-face. One email turns into ten, which turns into hundreds of texts, and it’s not long before Henry is wishing for more with a woman he’s never met. And when they do finally meet in person, well, Henry already had a crush on Emma. She’s been immune to his charms since high school, and Henry isn’t sure if all of their texting will change that.

Playboys always seem to fall the hardest, and that is definitely the case here. We don’t get a great explanation about why Henry is so adamantly against relationships, but we do know that he goes from woman to woman before the book begins. We also know that something about Emma is different for him, and I would’ve liked more exploration into their in-person relationship before meeting. It’s not a short book, and that part is lacking. For example, we know that Henry used to bring hookups to his office – where Emma also works – and think nothing of having a quickie during the lunch hour. That doesn’t exactly go well with the “it’s always been you” trope, if you know what I mean. That element is sort of glossed over (and takes place before they make contact via email), which makes some of it more palatable, but also left me curious about certain things. The rest of the book is so soft and cute, other than the spice – which is certainly steamy. I can already see growth in Curto’s writing between this and her first book, which is great. I actually enjoyed the first book more because the tropes were a better fit for me, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing how her books continue to improve in the future. This was a solid 4-star read for me.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3EFii4B


Blurb:

WANTED: One very fake date to a very real event.

Henry Dawson is many things—successful, charismatic, good-looking… and, most recently, a liar. A stupid fib to his parents about bringing a date to their anniversary party is causing him to scramble, attempting to fix his mistake.

Emma Burns lives a double life. By day, she’s a Civil Rights attorney. By night, she’s the mastermind behind RB’s Companions. When hired, she platonically accompanies men to social events, whether it’s as a girlfriend, friend or business associate. She does her job well.

After receiving an inquiry from a desperate new client, she agrees to be his girlfriend. What she doesn’t account for is the mystery man to be Henry, the notorious playboy, fellow lawyer and coworker she’s known for years. Communicating under aliases to protect their identities, the pair find themselves captivated by one another, and are shocked when they finally meet face-to-face.

The two might be experts in the courtroom, but they’re hardly professionals when it comes to matters of the heart. Pretending to date is easy. When the lines between real and fake blur, getting what they want becomes way more complicated.

The Companion Project is a steamy romantic comedy featuring coworkers-to-lovers, forced proximity and fake dating. Told through dialogue, emails and text message conversations, you can expect plenty of banter, very spicy scenes, an unstoppable woman and a man willing to change for the person he adores. It is a standalone novel.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3EFii4B


Start the series today!

The books are only loosely connected, but we did meet Henry in An Unexpected Paradise. The series follows a group of guy friends.

Beautiful palm trees. Warm ocean water. Idyllic sunsets. Sounds like heaven, right?

Not when you’re head-strong Jo Bowen and forced to attend a work trip with your obnoxious-yet-attractive coworker, Jack Lancaster. How can she survive four days in the Florida Keys with the grouchy man she wants to throttle more often than not?

When her toxic ex-boyfriend arrives at the same conference, Jack doesn’t hesitate to jump in and act as her current love interest. Jo discovers there might be more to her infuriating nemesis than meets the eye. Maybe it’s the island air, or maybe it’s the time they spend together, but soon their mutual hatred morphs into attraction. How can it not when Jack looks at her like she’s the only woman in the world?

It’s easy to pretend they’re a happy couple in front of strangers. With the real world looming beyond their temporary paradise, Jack and Jo must confront their feelings and new opportunities. They will either find themselves on the path of happiness… or the path of destruction.

An Unexpected Paradise is a steamy romantic comedy featuring coworkers-to-lovers (with a hint of enemies-to-lovers sprinkled in), forced proximity, and fake dating. The cast includes a fiery, headstrong woman, a churlish yet thoughtful man and an awesome group of friends. You can expect laugh-out-loud banter, spicy moments, and a new swoon-worthy book boyfriend. It is a standalone novel.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fB6J41


About the Author:

Born and raised in Winter Park, Florida, Chelsea splits her time between the Sunshine State and the Northeast, where she’s based as a flight attendant. When she’s not busy working, she loves traveling, running, reading, eating, petting dogs, riding roller coasters and spending time with her friends. Romance is her preferred genre, but won’t say no to any book! An Unexpected Paradise is her first novel. You can find her on Instagram at @chelseareadsandwrites !


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