Desire and the Deep Blue Sea by Olivia Dade

Illustrated cartoon type cover featuring a couple on a beach with a boom microphone above them. She is a fat brunette in a one piece swimsuit and he is a lean man in glasses wearing yellow swim trunks and a green tee Why I read it:  I pre-ordered this one as soon as it was up and recently carved out time to actually read it.

Content Advisory: Anxiety

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  They’re pretending. Until they aren’t.

Thomas McKinney has never wanted a woman the way he wants Callie Adesso. Since she started working alongside him at the Colonial Marysburg Research Library, he’s spent his desk shifts fumbling pencils, tripping over his own feet, and struggling to remember both the Dewey Decimal System and the existence of her inconvenient boyfriend. Now, however, Callie is suddenly single–and in need of a last-minute faux-boyfriend for an episode of HATV’s Island Match. Thomas is more than happy to play the part…and in the process, convince Callie that a week together isn’t nearly long enough.

Callie has never found a man as irritating as she finds Thomas. He may be brilliant, kind, and frustratingly handsome, but the absent-minded librarian also makes every workday an anxiety-inducing exercise in stress. Even seven days in paradise by his side won’t change her opinion of him. Really. No matter how attentive he is. And gentle. And sexy.

One plane ride later, the two of them are spending long, hot days under the sun and on display, pretending to be in love for a television show. This may be a vacation, but it’s also an act–as well as Thomas’s last chance to persuade the woman of his dreams to include him in hers. And soon, the island heat isn’t the only thing steaming up HATV’s cameras…

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Thomas McKinney was such a delightful hero. It was something of a surprise actually because initially I only had Callie’s description of him and he was certainly making life very difficult for her at work. It all came from a place of good intentions and being lovestruck and it could also have easily turned into way-not-okay stalker territory. Callie has only been at the library for six months. She struck up a friendship quickly with Thomas but became frustrated with him because he’s very bad at multi-tasking and tended to get caught up in whatever question he was asking for a patron and taking ages to do it. This left Callie doing most of the actual work and not getting many of the interesting questions to answer. Callie has been trying to work with other librarians for the past few months but for some reason she is always on shift with Thomas. This has meant she has had little chance to build relationships with anyone else and has been very isolating for her. So, initially, Thomas comes across as a bit of a jerk.

June Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Shirtless hot guy (lower face and torso only) shows off his abs and guns as he leans against a wall holding an NFL football at about waist level in both hands.Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Zachary Webber – B Lauren Blakely writes reliably good, fun and sexy contemporary romance and I usually enjoy them on audio. Zachary Webber has improved significantly since he first started narrating and he was pretty good to start with. Blakely gets some of the best narrators for her books. Perhaps it’s her superpower?

Most Valuable Playboy is one entirely from the hero’s POV and that is pretty much catnip to me anyway as a hero-centric reader/listener. And I do have a soft spot for fake relationship, best friend’s little sister and friends to lovers tropes, all of which are in play here.

Cooper is the starting quarterback for the San Francisco Renegades, a fictional NFL team. He’s up for contract renewal and unfortunately the team owner’s sister is hitting on him without mercy. He is not interested but he doesn’t want to rock the boat by complaining about the sexual harassment he’s receiving for fear of ruining his chances to stay with his beloved team. So his good friend Violet steps up and helps him out. Only the pretense reveals real feelings to Cooper, who then has a whole nother set of problems. His best buddy is very frowny about the whole thing and what if Violet doesn’t feel the same way?

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