Bingeable in the best of ways, I absolutely DEVOURED this fling to more, black cat/golden retriever romance. The constant forced proximity and crackling chemistry made it such an engaging read, and I loved the contrasts between the scorching sexual tension and the undercurrent of emotion that runs throughout the whole story. These two are both commitment-phobic players who have their own reasons for running scared, and that made them understand each other on a level that no one else would. As much as I was initially disappointed that they had continued being players for two years after meeting each other, that also meant that they’d come to know each other on a deeper level before actually forming more than a surface level connection. They hadn’t exactly been friends during that time, and they’d also never spent time alone together before embarking on this adventure. Once they did, it became clear that this sweetheart of a hero never stood a chance. He was ALL IN, and watching him figure out how to keep his girl was so fulfilling. It’s super sexy one minute, then angsty and emotional the next. The whole thing was electric, and I couldn’t wait to see how it all played out. An EASY 5-star rating for me – I loved it.
The story follows Lily, a 27-year-old whose life isn’t going the way she’d hoped. She’s still struggling to finish her undergraduate degree, she just lost her job, and steering clear of anything even remotely like love has left her feeling a little isolated. So when she runs into her best friend’s new brother-in-law, it’s a breath of fresh air. An incorrigible flirt and the kind of guy who is always looking for his next adventure, Nico has been attracted to Lily since they met… even though he’s aware that they should never cross that line. A hookup between two players might be fun in the moment, but neither one is looking for more, and they’re going to be in each other’s lives forever. But Nico can see that Lily is in need of a break, and he finds himself extending an offer to join him on an international adventure for the summer. Away from the real world and the responsibilities that come with it, it’s easy to give in to the connection. But what starts as lust soon simmers into something deeper, and neither one is sure what to do about that.
After reading this writing duo’s debut, Water Under the Bridge, I could see the potential in their work, so I was excited to check out the sequel. Friends with benefits romances and friends to lovers situations involving players are not usually favorites of mine, but I adore road trip and adventure romances, so I was cautiously optimistic about this one. It only took a few pages to win me over, and I was surprisingly okay with the dynamic. Nico and Lily have literally never spent time alone together and they’ve both got some personal growth to do, so it was easy to understand why they’d previously continued living their lives while acknowledging the attraction. It took no time at all for them to realize that keeping things platonic on the trip would be next to impossible, and that creates a ton of sexual tension. But I loved that this could (technically) be considered a hot slow burn; by drawing some lines in the sand, there was still that moment of finally giving in to the feeling. And I loved how nearly every scene featured the two of them together, especially since both characters were so compelling. Nico stole my heart in a big way, and I loved how rock solid he was in his feelings once he gave in. It’s spicy and lighthearted on the surface, with plenty of depth buried within the pages. A fantastic sophomore effort, and a book that kept me (happily) reading way too late into the night.
Nico Navarro and I are friends.
His signature grin and playfulness are charming, except when you’re on the receiving end of his self-absorbed personality. The worst part—he’s ridiculously gorgeous and he knows it. For years, I’ve dealt with Nico’s incessant flirting by keeping my occasional fantasies about him strictly between me, my keyboard, and my vibrator.
We’re both players and not interested in settling down. He’s never been in love, and I refuse to commit to someone again. Besides, Nico is my best friend’s brother-in-law, so he’s strictly off-limits.
But when I suddenly lose my job, fail a class, and a man faints inside me—yes, inside me—all rationality falls by the wayside.
One out-of-character decision later, I find myself on an international adventure with the irresponsible playboy. Our spontaneous vacation is filled with interrogations,a steamy arrangement, and the uncovering of my decade-long secret. I’m quickly becoming Nico’s new obsession and the rules I’ve kept to protect my heart start to crumble with each new lavish travel destination we visit.
Can I let myself love again or will our summer fling end up in flames?
Start the series today!
Definitely not required reading, but the hero in Water Under the Bridge is Nico’s stoic brother, and the characters tie the series together. This one actually had tropes that are right up my alley, but the writing wasn’t quite as compelling. Still pretty solid though!
A laugh-out-loud, sexy, slow burn, office romance.
Avery Soko, a bright-eyed and ambitious do-gooder, is on the cusp of getting her dream fundraising job at the Oceanic Research Organization. Luca Navarro, a former corporate lawyer with an extravagant tie collection and an irritatingly handsome smirk, holds Avery’s future in his very large hands. When he calls with the news of her rejection, Luca seems to revel in crushing her dreams.
But Avery will do anything to pursue her passion, even accept a job at a struggling start-up. Her spell of bad luck finally changes when a competition is announced at a grandiose gala that could save her and her new team from going under. Of course, Avery’s least favorite person, Luca, also joins the running for the multimillion-dollar prize.
At the height of the competition, Avery and Luca realize they’ve met their match. Will the tense moments, absurd attempts to out-do each other, and the string of games and bets they’ve concocted turn into a series of failures, or will it make them into something more than adversaries?
Water Under The Bridge is book one of the Perks & Benefits series but can be read as a standalone. Warning: This book contains explicit content, and profanity.
Read the review here
About the Authors:
Kels writes impactful love stories with strong heroines and swoon-worthy love interests with her best friend, Denise. Apart from spending her days writing, Kels enjoys long hikes and watching cult-classic scary movies.
Denise writes impactful love stories with strong heroines and swoon-worthy love interests with her best friend, Kels. When her days are not occupied with writing passionate characters, Denise is eating her way through every new restaurant, taking trips to the beach, and dancing under the stars.
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