Recommended Age: 18+
Genres: Romance, Drama
Tags: Diversity, Social media
- Moderate sexuality: Kissing, multiple sex scenes with brief detail, descriptions of relationship problems and adultery.
- Moderate language: Some swearing and F bombs.
- Mild violence: House fire accident.
Carey has worked for Rusty and Melly Tripp for a decade now, doing everything from cashiering their store to managing their schedule for their hit TV show. But Carey’s workload has far surpassed that of an assistant, and her design skills are becoming too good to miss. When she and the show’s engineer are assigned to babysit the Tripps on their book tour, Carey knows her boss’s marriage has hit a new low. The Tripps may be selling a book on marriage, but their relationship has long since gone from marriage to resigned business partners. Carey knows it will be nearly impossible to keep the media from discovering the truth, especially when Rusty’s chosen assistant isn’t an assistant at all. James was hired as an engineer but soon discovered that this was not the career saving opportunity he’d hoped for.
Carey and James don’t know each other well, but it’s their job to make sure this tour isn’t a complete disaster. But as they bond over coin flipping maneuvers to decide whose turn it is to stop the tantrums, they both start to question their career decisions and how much they’re willing to sacrifice to finally have a personal life.
Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings are a best friend team of writers who consistently provide readers with heartfelt characters and heart-pounding romance. As always, they have concocted a perfect recipe for a love story that draws from romantic, familial, and friendly love. Their characters grow and develop not just from relationships, but from personal experience and a desire to fulfill their potential in their career or hobbies.
While they hold each book to the same standard of exploration and character development, they are by no means repetitive or boring. Each new story introduces fresh characters and impressive details in the plot. This book revolves around celebrities for a hit HGTV show, so there’s plenty of social media and press. This book would have taken a good chunk of research and while I’m sure there are plenty of examples showing creative liberty, the whole situation is genuinely believable.
Carey comes from a small country town, where jeans were considered fancy and parenting was more of a suggestion. She’s close with her brothers, but seeing her parent’s rocky marriage fall apart right when she first started working for the Tripps helped her gravitate towards Rusty and Melly as parent figures. After ten years of not only being their employee, but surrogate daughter, the lines are beyond blurred. She wants to move forward in her career, she can’t be an assistant forever, but leaving her job would essentially be like leaving a family business. She’s also hesitant to leave behind top notch health insurance that covers treatment for her nerve condition in her hands.
James, an engineer bullied into an assistant role, also has his reasons for staying with the Tripps. He’s fresh from a corrupted company busted for fraud, and desperate to get reliable trustworthy contacts on his resume to further his career. While his frustration with the lack of engineering in his new job initially causes some tension between him and Carey, once they start to spend more time together on the book tour they actually get along well.
The book is from both perspectives, so we get to read how Carey and James perceive one another and what their personal motivations are. Their romance starts off extremely nonexistent, but once the spark hits it’s hard to slow down. This romance is a nice break from the stress of the Tripps’ marriage falling apart while they try to advance their career, so there’s a good balance of sweet moments amidst the chaos. And though both Rusty and Melly show some deep rooted issues, they do love Carey like their own, even if they lose sight of that while chasing fame.
I recommend all of Christina Lauren’s books, with books like Love and Other Words being on the sweeter side of romance while series such as Beautiful Bastard cover the steamier end of the romantic genre. This book is definitely more of a serious romance, with more of a focus on how a relationship can grow outside of a bedroom. Sometimes all it takes is a sweet story to make you have faith in humanity again.
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