Berkley. Oct. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781984805423. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781984805430. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
DEBUT Faking it comes easy to Emmie Echavarre. Working at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company predominantly staffed by men, she must be tough as nails. Luckily, there is much opportunity to hone her skills with the very annoying and extremely hot guy who works across the hall. Tate Rasmussen has never had a kind word to say to Emmie, so when they’re forced to work on a special project together there is a good chance there will be more sparks will fly than from an angle grinder. Smith takes the classic enemies-to-lovers trope and builds a sexy interracial romance with a couple who are refreshingly good at communicating, which may make the conflict resolution seem to come too easily for some readers. While the characters do not hesitate to tackle the subject of sexual harassment, there is a definite imbalance in how it was treated depending on whether the behavior was exhibited by a male or female coworker. Smith’s approachable style makes for a sweet and fun read in spite of these bumps.
VERDICT Fans of Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game will find that this delightful debut from #ownvoices author Smith has great potential, as long as they can overlook a few missteps.
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