Synopsis – Goodreads
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.
When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.
Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.
Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.
Before I jump head first into this review, here are a few Trigger Warnings I think are necessary before you continue.
Trigger Warnings: Domestic Violence, Domestic Abuse, mention/action that can lead to Rape
The Good: The characters, specifically Jake (the male lead/love interest), Felicia (Naya’s BFF) Tyson and Eric (Jake’s best friends). Jake’s corny dad jokes, and quirky, nerdy personality made me swoon from the beginning. Felicia immediately felt like my best friend with her takes no shit attitude and being the friend that Naya needed. And finally Tyson and Eric who starred in my absolute favorite chapter of the book. They both have Jake’s best interest at heart and it shows. Plus they’re the cutest couple!
Next, the romance, between Jake and Naya gave just the right amount of tension and steam mixed with moony woo woo moments (yes I just said that lol).
Finally, the second half of the book bumped the story up a rating for me. The pace picked up and the inevitable blowout scene felt genuine and authentic. I also appreciated that Naya seeks out counseling and therapy to deal with the PTSD and trauma she has from a prior abusive relationship. And lastly, Jake and Naya’s issues with each other are not just magically resolved in the end.
The Bad: The lack of trigger warnings almost made this a DNF for me. I love that contemporary romance tackles difficult subjects and experiences. However, I wish we were forewarned.
Next, the pace which to be quite frank dragged for the first few chapters, slowly began to pick up and level out as the story progressed. But it wasn’t until the halfway point, that it felt consistent.
Finally, I felt disconnected from the main character Naya throughout the story. Although I’m usually able to empathize with a character or personality different from mine, apart from her trauma, it was very difficult for me to connect with her. While some characters felt three-dimensional, Naya unfortunately, felt two-dimensional.
Overall, if you’re a fan of contemporary romance and aren’t triggered by the warnings I gave, I definitely feel like you may enjoy this.
Special thanks to Berkley Publishing, Berkley Romance and Netgalley for sending me an e-Advanced Reader’s Copy! Receiving this copy did not affect my rating or review.
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Author: Denise Williams
Genre: Contemporary Romance