Reviewed by Kini
Blurb :Geeky meets kinky in this first deliciously sexy novel in the Slices of Pi series by RITA-nominated author Elia Winters, which follows the romantic rendezvous of the employees at PI Games, a gaming company based out of sultry Florida.
As a design manager at PI Games, Isabel Suarez is no stranger to the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. But when her team attends a gaming convention on the other side of the country, she figures there’s no harm in putting aside her professional demeanor for one weekend to participate in a risqué scavenger hunt. Why shouldn’t she let loose and have a little fun?
A careless romp soon turns into more, however, when Isabel ends up having a fling with Caleb Portland, an artist and animator, without knowing he has just been hired to partner with her at her company—and Caleb can’t bring himself to tell her. When they end up coworkers a few weeks later, they need to find a way to work together and keep things strictly professional. Caleb doesn’t want to take on a relationship and risk failure. Isabel doesn’t want to risk ruining the professional reputation she’s worked so hard to develop. But when faced with the undeniable sizzling chemistry between them, will either of them be able to resist temptation?
A sexy and witty tale of romance and modern workplace politics, Even Odds is the latest winning entry in Elia Winters’ unique and well-loved erotic novels.
I really enjoyed this book. Isabel is a manager at small company that makes video games. She’s also a woman of color, this is neither a thing or not a thing in the book, it just who she is. Isabel has a bad experience at her previous employer with being harassed so she tries to downplay her femininity. She attends a convention with a three male co-workers and ends up participating in a scavenger hunt of sorts, where they accumulate points for things done while at the convention, including sexual exploits. The scavenger hunt is the push that Isabel needs to break out of her shell when she meets a handsome man.
Caleb is an artist who is recovering from a failed business attempt. He is also in the video game industry and attends the same convention in Boston as Isabel. At the time of the convention, he is waiting to hear about a job in Tampa, the same company that Isabel works for.
Isabel and Caleb have their meet-cute at the convention and he helps her put an Ikea shelf together. That is the sign of a good man right there, one that put an Ikea shelf together without dropping any curse words. Anyway, back to the book. Isabel finds Caleb very attractive and with the slight incentive of the scavenger hunt points and the fact that Caleb lives in Boston and she’ll never see him again, she goes for the one night of sex. Because this is romancelandia, the one night turns into several hot and steamy encounters while they are at the convention.
As luck would have it, Caleb does get the job and ends up in Tampa. Isabel doesn’t know that Caleb is up for the job and is pretty surprised and upset when she finds out. She is very concerned that by showing any sort of femininity and/or sexuality at work all her co-workers will think she is a slut. There is a harassment sub-plot that really grated on me. Isabel is an intelligent woman who has advanced her career beyond entry-level, she works for a decent company, she has a few good co-worker friends, and she has worked there for a four years. I found it hard to believe that it would have taken her that long to really understand what constitutes harassment and that no one else in her company recognized the harassment and spoke up before Caleb got there and did so.
Caleb did witness some workplace harassment and I really liked that the author allowed him to stand up to the harasser, yet also didn’t go all alpha male and let Isabel come to terms with it on her own. Caleb made for a sweet book boyfriend that liked to engage in some dirty, filthy sexnanigans with Isabel.
My other gripe with the book is that Isabel had zero friends, not men or women. She is friendly with two of her co-workers and has a good support network with her parents, but no real friends. That made me sad for her. The book did include a two chapter teaser of the next in the series and it seemed that perhaps Isabel was becoming more friendly with co-workers, but that just seems like a lonely life.
All said though, this was an enjoyable book with some super sexy times. Although Isabel had this weird thing about her sexuality at work, she was otherwise confident with her sexuality. She took her Hitachi Magic Wand with her to the convention, and used it before she even met Caleb. I have added this to my Home Only reads collection on my kindle. I will definitely read the next in the series.