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Offensive Behavior by Ainslie Paton

Offensive BehaviorWhy I read it:  I was provided with a copy by the author.

Disclosure: I’m friendly with the author on Twitter. We talk often. I know she’s a super cool person who won’t get bent out of shape if I don’t like a book she writes and I feel comfortable that I can say what I think without it being awkward. So I’m reviewing this one. As always, readers get to decide if my opinion is helpful to them.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Everyone is virgin at something

This is the story of a man who’s never done it, and a woman with the experience to teach him how.

Reid McGrath is drunk and intends to stay that way. It’s what a man does when the world he built gets ripped out from under him. He’s staked a claim on the back booth at Lucky’s where he can fixate on a dancer who makes him wish things were different.

Zarley Halveston dances under shimmering lights in a barely there costume, but it’s not the gold medal life she trained for. She expected to stand on an Olympic podium, instead she glitters under disco lights, gyrating on a chrome pole. Zarley can’t see the brooding man in the back booth, but she knows he’s there. He’s toxic, but it’s not her job to care, until the night he collapses at her feet and she has to choose to step over him or help him up.

Reid thought he’d hit bottom when he was fired as CEO of his own company, but knowing he’d needed the kindness of a stranger, and realizing she was the dancer he’d lusted after was a new low.

Question: What do a fallen golden girl and a sacked tech tycoon have in common except humiliation and failure?

Answer: The reawakening of a champion competitor and the sexual education of a frustrated geek.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Reid McGrath is the weird loner guy who starts a multi-million dollar tech company but manages to have almost no people skills. (I’ve met people like him – except with less money.) He’s been so focused on his company and coming up with brilliant apps and other software, he didn’t really have time for women (that’s his excuse anyway). But his woeful people skills collided with his company’s “No Asshole” rule and he was fired. From his own company. Oh the humiliation. The rage!

Unsuitable by Ainslie Paton

UnsuitableWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the author. 

In the interests of disclosure, the author and I chat on Twitter often and we met when I was in Sydney in March of this year. If I didn’t think I could be objective I wouldn’t review her work here.  Ultimately, it is for readers of the review to decide if it has any value to them.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Can they make trailblazing and homemaking fit, or is love just another gender stereotype?

Audrey broke the glass ceiling.

Reece swapped a blue collar for a pink collar job.

She’s a single mum by design. He’s a nanny by choice.

She gets passed over for promotion. He struggles to find a job.

She takes a chance on him. He’s worth more than he knows.

There’s an imbalance of power. There’s an age difference.

There’s a child whose favourite word is no.

Everything about them being together is unsuitable.

Except for love.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I moved this one up the TBR queue when I realised it had a male nanny.  Not only is he a male nanny, he’s tall and broad, so he doesn’t fit the physical picture of a male nanny one may naturally assume.  That’s not me being sexist – that’s made explicit in the book.  His body actually works against him when he’s looking for work in his chosen field.   He doesn’t look like a thug but he does look like a muscly giant of a man.  Very nice to look at in the man candy stakes but kind of incongruous when paired with a nanny role.  Let’s face it, nannying is considered “women’s work” – not just by men, by almost everyone.  There’s no reason this should be the case, other than prejudice but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Floored by Ainslie Paton

FlooredWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  (In the interests of full disclosure: The author and I often chat on Twitter and I met her when I went to Sydney recently.)

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  They’re a car crash waiting to happen…so why do they keep crashing into each other?

From the moment Fetch gets knocked off his Harley, crawls into Driver’s car and offers her an obscene amount of money to drive him from Sydney to Perth — no questions, no names, no chit chat — they’re stuck with each other. By the time they arrive, they’re stuck on each other.

It’s lust at full throttle, with no seat belts. It could be more, but he’s a fake and she’s a liar. They’re both neck deep in crime, and only one of them is on the right side of the law.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  There were so many things to like about this book.  I loved that the main characters (Cait and Sean) were together for almost the whole of the book (yay for road trip books!).  It was a relatively long book (these days I expect maybe 200 pages so 330 means long) and there was plenty of time for the characters to be developed, to get to know one another, for the sexual tension to build and still get all the payoff of those things later on without being rushed.  I loved that Cait and Sean took time to get to know each other before things turned physical.  There was a point where tension became combustible and Sean cranks it up yet another notch – I felt it both fit the story but was also a clever way of increasing the readerly tension of “when will they get it on!” and I appreciated that it wasn’t drawn out unnecessarily.

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