Driven to Distraction by Olivia Dade

Asian woman with long dark hair and a sandy-haired bearded man in a blue t-shirt in a library, looking at a book togetherWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the author via NetGalley

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  IF THE BOOKMOBILE’S ROCKING . . .

Constance Chen is not the demure kind of librarian. Sure, her high-horsepower ride is Big Bertha the Bookmobile, but Con swears a blue streak, does her own home improvement, and wears steel-toed boots. She has a tight circle of friends, a demanding, beloved sprawl of a Chinese-American family, and a strict hookups-only policy when it comes to men. Her life is just how she wants it. Except for one maddeningly sexy footnote.

Sam Wolcott, her friend’s baby brother and the library’s IT star, has been throwing sparks with Con since he moved to town. To everybody else, he’s a thoughtful, sensitive sweetheart. To Con, he’s a cantankerous pedant, because if they don’t fight nonstop their clothes will spontaneously combust. Sam needs a commitment Con won’t—can’t—give. And neither of them will chance their hard-won bonds for pure lust.

Too bad Con and Sam have a whole week in a very tiny, very private space to sustain their dumb arguments. Alone. What happens in the Bookmobile might take their resistance right out of circulation . . .

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  This book was a lovely surprise. Constance Chen (aka “Con”) is the type of heroine I don’t see a lot in the romance genre. She’s a tough, no-nonsense woman, who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go and get it. She is blunt, prickly, a little brash and not looking for a relationship. She’s also a devoted sister and daughter and friend. Her close friendship with Penny, one of the other librarians in Niceville has her hesitating to act on her attraction to Sam Wolcott. And Sam has similar concerns. He has only just reconnected with his half-sister (they had different fathers) and she is the only family (apart from an extremely absent and disinterested mother) he has. He won’t do anything to risk that. He fears that if he starts anything with Con and it goes south, Penny will choose Con over him and then he’ll be alone. And that – being alone, is his greatest fear.

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