With a fresh spin on a familiar trope, this sexy debut holds a lot of promise. I loved the first half in particular, which saw these strangers becoming instant enemies. Our hero gets the heroine fired, then she is forced to take a job as his maid/cook… and they both pretend not to recognize each other while secretly seething every time they interact. The tension was high as they battled it out, and the forced proximity was fantastic. I flew through the first half with ease, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Interestingly enough, it felt like there was a lack of tension in the back half. The buildup from kissing to banging was non-existent, and some of the spicy scenes felt out of place – they’d be talking about something heavy, then instantly shift to sex. That took me out of the story a bit, and made me notice some of the (small) writing issues – like taking off the same set of clothing twice and confusion about positioning. It was remarkably well done for an indie debut though, and I had a great time reading.
The story follows Quinn, a woman who has a lot on her plate. She lives with her mom, who is currently battling cancer for the second time. With medical bills piling up, Quinn needs her job more than ever… which is why it’s so devastating when she is unexpectedly fired. One of the wealthy diners at the restaurant Quinn worked at blames her for some family drama being leaked to the press, and no one seems interested in hearing her side of the story. Now blacklisted from working at every nice restaurant in the city, Quinn finds herself taking a job as a private maid/personal chef at a hotel. The only problem, other than the less-than-ideal role? Quinn is in charge of caring for the penthouse suite, which is occupied by none other than Wesley himself, the man who got her fired. When neither acknowledges that they recognize the other, the two begin a silent feud – that only seems to heat up the more time they spend together.
I really loved the originality of the storyline, which felt fresh and familiar at the same time. Enemies to lovers is certainly nothing new, but I’ve never seen it played out in quite this way. I loved watching these two near-strangers – who genuinely hate each other – slowly start to realize that they’ve made a few miscalculations. The tension was great, and I liked both characters. Sure, Wes is definitely an entitled jerk at first, but it’s easy to see why he acted the way he did. I also thought it was fascinating that they were both dealing with issues in their personal lives, which gave the story some weight. It’s lighthearted for the most part, but there are some heavy topics discussed, particularly medical debt. I haven’t encountered another book that’s explored a character’s past experiences taking on sex work to pay medical bills, so that was interesting for sure. I think certain things could’ve been fleshed out a little more, but I also liked that the book didn’t feel overly heavy. For me, it just faltered slightly in the back half. I was pretty confident that I’d be rating this as 5 stars, but it did lose a little of its shine by the end. All in all, very strong for a debut though, and I’m excited to see what’s next from the author.
What do you do when your worst enemy turns out to be your new boss?
Quinn Taylor is flat broke and stuck in the same Brooklyn apartment she’s lived in her whole life. Struggling with student loan payments and medical bills, she works at The Phoenix, an elite Manhattan lounge known for its confidentiality. She’s not waiting around for Prince Charming; in fact, she learned to forget that dream a long time ago. Now, her dream is to open her own restaurant. The only problem? The handsome and elusive real estate mogul Wesley Marks just got her fired.
When Wesley unexpectedly inherits his father’s position as CEO of Marks Properties, he’s desperate to take care of his family and prove he’s nothing like his father. But after the beautiful hostess at The Phoenix betrays his trust, leaking a story that nearly destroys everything, he has a new plan. You know what they say – keep your friends close, and your enemies on your payroll. Both Wesley and Quinn are determined to get their way.
But can they put down their weapons for long enough to discover the connection between them?
LOVE MARKS is a dual-POV, open door enemies-to-lovers, billionaire boss contemporary romance. Please note that this book has content warnings for adult language, adult content, a parent with cancer, alcoholism/rehab, brief references to suicide, sexual assault, and sex work.
About the Author:
Rachael Harriet is an independent author and coffee lover with an addiction to grumpy love interests, enemies to lovers, and all things Romancelandia. She is a Wellesley college graduate and has been writing for over two decades (if you count her third grade diary). In her free time, Rachael is a member of an all women’s improv group and a voracious reader. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she can occasionally be seen carrying stacks of (probably smutty) books through Prospect Park. Her debut novel LOVE MARKS is available on paperback, e-book, and Kindle Unlimited and you can find her on socials @rachaelharrietauthor
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