Reviewed: March 14, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A ~ Non-Series / Stand Alone
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Length: 139 Pages
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by the author for review. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Losing her mother to cancer robbed Deri Crandall of the only family who ever loved her. The only family she had, really, until she tracked down her father - who had been little more than a sperm donor to begin with. His side of the family called her "The Mistake," but still she'd do anything to be a part of them, to be accepted and respected. They were all she had left.
That's the only reason she told her grandfather that she'd spy on the family's largest corporate rival. It's why she agreed to sneak in as an employee and turn over whatever she could find to the family she's trying to impress. She didn't intend to actually do it, of course, but she thought, maybe, if she showed she was willing, they would at least see her as valuable. It's not like her low-level internship with their rival is likely to make her privy to many company secrets, anyway. Especially after getting hurt on the job and falling on of one of the company workers, a gorgeous man named Cole. His obvious interest in her makes her pulse pound and thrills her beyond belief.
It's too bad when she finds out he's the head of the company she'd been sent to spy on.
Young owner and company CEO Cole Harrety had loved starting his business and building it into the cutting edge market-driver it had become. He was just a little bored with running it now that the challenge was gone. That is, until the curvy, sexy, and sweet Deri Crandall literally fell into his lap...almost breaking an ankle in the process. The force of her personality and the guilelessness of her smile flips a switch for Cole that he hadn't known existed. Sweet, pretty Deri just totally does it for him. Even though he has a strict rule against dating his employees.
There's just something about Deri. Something he wants to further explore. And he will...if she'd just quit running away from him...
I loved this novella so much! I adored Deri and Cole and thought the beginning was fabulously fun. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for stories that make me literally laugh out loud, and this one gave me several chuckles most of the way through it, so I couldn't help but be hooked quick and hard.
Deri, for all her neediness and weakness in relation to her "family" - usually big stumbling blocks for me - was a charming delight who tickled me to no end. She's quirky and clumsy, doesn't have the best self image, and lets her family walk all over her for whatever crumbs they deign to dish out. Still, she's inherently honest, despite all contrary evidence, intensely self-deprecating, and has a sunny disposition and a huge heart. She made me laugh at all the trouble she manages to get herself into. I would have liked her to be a bit more honest with Cole from the beginning, but I at least understand her reasons for not doing so, and I respected her for walking away from Cole when she realized who he is. Or for trying to anyway. Cole certainly didn't make it easy.
Cole was a charmer, that's for sure. I adored that he could see beyond the clumsy, less-than-perfect Deri and appreciate her for her warmth and heart. I loved how quickly and totally he fell under her spell. And I thought his frustration at her gentle rejections was cute and endearing. I was less than fond of something he did late in the book, though. That was pretty reprehensible to me, given the situation at the time, and honestly, it was the only element in the book that gave me significant problems. I don't think he grovelled enough to make up for his hurtful behavior.
I would have liked Deri to stand up for herself more in relation to a family that obviously had no respect for her whatsoever, but her yearning for family was sympathetic, even if her choices weren't the mark of a woman with a healthy level of self respect. I also wasn't convinced that Deri's grandfather's reactions in the conclusion were organic to his nature and the situation at the time. Beyond those minor issues, and the one major one with Cole, I couldn't help but be completely enchanted with this lovely little bite of contemporary romance.
It's light, fluffy, sexy fun, sure. Exactly the sort of tale I consider brain candy. Believe me, I was desperately in the mood for some yummy brain candy just like this. It hit most of my Happy Reader buttons, and left me smiling wide and feeling quite pleased about the whole of the read.
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