Reviewed by Mandi
“Lucy,” is all he can seem to say. “Lucy. How am I going to walk away from tonight? Seriously. How?”
I get goosebumps. I’m wondering the same thing. I let my head drop to one side, and we kiss.
I’m hoarse and breathless. “I’m gonna die tonight. Please take your pants off.”
“I want that embroidered on a pillow.”
True story – earlier this week I reviewed the amazing Burn Down the Night by M. O’Keefe and I said it was my favorite book so far in 2016. The very next book I read happened to be The Hating Game by debut author, Sally Thorne….and I have a new favorite book. Yes, two favorite books in a row, which never happens and I’m kind of freaking out and I have that jittery feeling I get after reading excellent books (maybe others get it from too much coffee).
This book is so adorable, so romantic, funny, the best banter, amazing, gut-wrenching sexual tension, I can’t even deal with my life.
(I’m not being dramatic at all!)
The premise – Lucy worked for a quaint, very bookish/nerdy publishing house called Gamin, but they struggled financially. To save their business, they merged with the cold, serious, rigid publishing house called Bexley.
The Bexleys are hard geometrics, the Gamins are soft scribbles.
Lucy is the assistant to Gamin’s CEO and our hero, Josh, is the assistant to Bexley’s CEO. When the companies merged, Lucy and Josh got placed inside the same office and from day one they have hated each other.
I’m never alone in here. Sitting opposite me is the executive assistant to Mr. Bexley. His henchman and manservant. The second thing, the most essential thing anyone needs to know about me, is this: I hate Joshua Templeman.
He’s currently copying every move I make. It’s the Mirror Game. To the casual observer it wouldn’t be immediately obvious; he’s as subtle as a shadow. But not to me. Each movement of mine is replicated on his side of the office on a slight time delay. I lift my chin from my palm and swivel to my desk, and smoothly he does the same. I’m twenty-eight years old and it seems I’ve fallen through the cracks of heaven and hell and into purgatory. A kindergarten classroom. An asylum.
I type my password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@.
Josh is meticulously organized, has a temper, can kill people with the glares he gives them. He wears the same colored shirts on the same day of the week. He goes to the gym several times a day. He survives on mints. He isn’t human, he never smiles, and Lucy can’t stand him. Lucy is barely five feet tall and Josh is way over six feet – and their height differences makes her feel super short and she hates that.
“Put me down. This isn’t funny.” My feet make little ineffectual spirals. This isn’t the first time a big kid’s thrown his weight around with me. Marcus DuShay in third grade once slung me onto the hood of the principal’s car and ran off laughing. The plight of the little humans. There is no dignity for us in this oversize world.
“Visit me up here for a sec.”
“What on earth for?” I try to slide down but he spans his hands on my waist and presses me against the wall. I squeeze his shoulders until I come to the informed conclusion that his body is extravagant muscle under these Clark Kent shirts.
“Holy shit.” His collarbone is like a crowbar under my palms. I say the only idiotic thing I can think of. “Muscles. Bones.”
When a new position is opening up, one they both want, their hate takes on a new level, as they are going to have to compete for this job.
Told all in Lucy’s point of view – the absolute best thing about this book is that you know right from the start that Josh is in love with her. That his surly, bitter attitude comes from being a bit shy (and stubborn) and not being able to admit his feelings. Instead he lashes out around her, because he is a big oaf and Lucy thinks he absolutely hates her. They play stupid games like “The staring game” where they face off glares at each other. They have to completely lock down their desk because they don’t trust the other not to snoop when one walks away from their desk. She has never once seen him smile and it bugs the hell out of her.
But then things start to change. Lucy has a rare date with a co-worker and Josh loses it. Lucy gets ill, and Josh takes care of her for a weekend. Their dynamic shifts into possible and very fragile friends.
A few things I have to point out:
The banter in this book is absolutely adorable. It made me laugh out loud.
When his bedroom door opens and he appears again, I am a mature young woman, legs elegantly crossed, flipping through a medical textbook, sipping my tea. He’s got on some soft black sweats, a black T-shirt, and nice bare feet. Can’t he have a flaw?
He sits on the edge of the couch, his hair damp and ruffled in every direction. I turn the page and unfortunately a lurid diagram of an erect penis glares up at me.
“I am trying to be a bit more normal.”
He looks at the page. “How’s it working out so far?”
It made me smile so hard. It made me not want to put my kindle down and see what was happening on Twitter. That’s big, folks.
The sexual tension in this book made me want to read faster and faster, yet I wanted to savor every word so I read slow.
“What’s with the weird eyes? Relax.”
“I was thinking how big you are.”
I look at our joined hands. He carefully strokes the length of my palm with his thumb. When we look at each other again, his eyes are a little darker.
“I’ll fit you just right.”
It hurt!!! It hurts because you know Josh is so freaking in love with Lucy, yet the author tortures you with this. And even after Lucy realizes what a hot, sexy beast Josh is and she jumps him (at one point she literally hugs him like a koala and he walks around his apartment with her like this doing menial tasks) Josh refuses to get nakey and give her hot sexin’ because he is afraid she will freak out afterwards. He takes things slooooow and I wanted to kill him (and jump him myself).
He catches my hand at the curb and walks across the street with me. When we reach my car, I tilt my mouth up to his. He carefully takes my face in his hands and he kisses me. A simultaneous shocked gasp rocks us. It’s like we haven’t kissed in an eternity. He presses me against the car door and I whimper. Tongues, teeth, breath.
“You taste like my Easter egg.”
“Please, please. I need you so badly.”
“I’ll see you at work tomorrow,” he replies. He turns me in his arms, and presses his mouth against the back of my neck.
The wait is worth it though – I wasn’t sure if this book would go into the bedroom – but oh yes it does.
The end is so, so romantic. The declaration of love is one of the best ever. It goes on and on and it’s so ridiculously romantic I just loved it. I think I highlighted three pages and wanted to paste them into the review – but that would kind of ruin the build-up of the book for you.
This is the type of book that is filled with little things that will be caught on a second read through. (I’ve already started reading it again. I can’t help myself). Little things Josh does – that Lucy doesn’t catch onto but the reader will. It’s a book full of games and competition. A glance from Lucy to a mirror in their office to see Josh can be so big in this book. There are so many little things that say, “Oh – I see what you did there, author.” I could listen to Lucy and Josh bicker and laugh and love each other day after day after day.
** Because this book is priced at $9.99 for Kindle (I WEEP) I know that will turn people away. So I’m giving away two copies (kindle or nook – or I can mail you print if you prefer.). I’ll pick two winners first thing tomorrow morning so you have good weekend reading! Just leave a comment to enter.