This is the second in a series about hot, rich guys who work on the 49th floor of a fancy Toronto office building. I loved the first one; it made me realize that not all romance heroes in suits were cold, domineering jerks. So I was anxious and hopeful about the second book — would I believe in the romance? It’s totally different from the first book and, yep, I believed it.
The book opens just after Amy Morrison has been jilted by her fiancé. He dumped her an hour before the wedding, like a champ, and she runs to her safe place: the office. It’s a holiday weekend, and her coworkers are all attending her wedding, so she knows she’ll be alone to freak the hell out. But someone else is there — Dax Harris, the only person on the 49th floor whom she didn’t invite to her wedding, because they kind of hate each other.
Dax isn’t a horrible guy, though. He sees Amy in tears, tells her that her ex-fiancé was never good enough for her anyway, and then takes her to a bar to get drunk. Dax is really good at comforting someone who’s been dumped. Since he’s not really friends with Amy, he doesn’t have to hold back.
“He was too nice….Like if Martha Stewart had a DIY-boyfriend craft, she’d come up with Mason. Doctor, blandly handsome, boring. He probably had some lame-ass hipster hobby like brewing craft beer.”
“He collected vintage records,” Amy said.
Since this author is behind Trope Heroine on Twitter, she knows the predictable outcome and expertly avoids it. I mean, yes, Amy and Dax have a Frenemies With Benefits relationship, but they don’t get there easily. First, they go to a baseball game together that results in them borrowing another couple’s identity, and then Amy gets involved with Dax’s family, and Amy also looks for hookups on Tinder. I don’t read a ton of contemporaries, but this is the first book I’ve read that had Tinder in it, and I’m just glad I had at least heard of it or else I would have felt really old.
Amy is a strong heroine. She’s the right-hand woman for a CEO, handling commercial real estate deals, but she also loves real estate as a hobby. She browses home listings for fun and is distracted by real estate trivia the way other people are distracted by shiny things. And even though she’s spent seven years with her ex-fiancé, she manages to restructure her life and reevaluate her goals. Maybe she doesn’t need a long-term relationship and a big house in the suburbs, maybe she can make new friends and sing karaoke with them.
Dax is, according to his sister, “a canoeing, programming, hermit bachelor CEO rich dude.” He lives in the quaintest neighborhood on an island that doesn’t allow cars and, like any good hero, he never brings women there because they’d have to spend the night since there aren’t any ferries until the morning. He has a great relationship with his family, and he’d be too perfect except for his whole I-don’t-do-relationships- because-of-a-Thing-in-my-Past hangup.
If you like to keep track of these things (and if you didn’t notice the cover), Dax is not a white boy. His mother is Chinese, his father is British, and they live in multicultural Toronto where it doesn’t really make a difference except when Amy mentions a “white party” (meaning a white dress party) and Dax jokes, “Well, I guess that counts me out, then.” His family is sweet, and his sister rocks.
I only have two quibbles with this book. First, Amy and Dax believe that they are enemies, but the book opens when they begin to overcome it, so I never really believed that they hated each other. They disagreed, and teased each other, but it came across as romantic conflict banter. So I’m going to believe that they only thought they hated each other before because they had so much chemistry, but they knew nothing would ever happen, so it simmered and came out as cutting barbs.
Second, I wanted the book to be longer. The story is constructed in such a way that they don’t truly get together until the end, and I’m always a little unsatisfied with those structures because I like to see the happy couple be happy together longer. I blame the publisher for imposing an arbitrary word count limit (not that I even know if it’s true), and I also blame myself for wanting more.
Even with those drawbacks, the book is still totally worth reading. Dax cooks nacho cheese from scratch. Amy wears red lipstick. They make out in an elevator.
*ARC provided by Entangled
Click to purchase: Amazon
Sleeping With Her Enemy
by Jenny Holiday
Release Date: February 23, 2015