Series: Oxford #1
Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Date Read: January 15, 2016
Meet the men of Oxford magazine! In the first captivating spin-off of Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series, a not-so-friendly battle of the sexes turns into a scorching office romance.
Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.
Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.
I enjoyed this sweet and sexy little romance story. It wasn't my favorite Lauren Layne book but it was still a very good romance. This book is the first in a brand new series so I was eager to jump in right at the beginning. I understand that this series is a spin off from her Sex, Love, & Stilettos series which I still haven't read. I know, I know, I really need to get that series read as soon as humanly possible. This book may share some characters from the earlier series but this is a great place for new readers to jump in because this book reads perfectly as a stand alone novel.
The characters were wonderful. I really liked both of them a lot. Penelope was a bit insecure about certain things but very confident in others. She was a bit of a tomboy who prefers beer to wine, hotdogs to fancy food, and absolutely loves sports. She is actually a sports writer who is interviewing for a job as the new sports editor at Oxford. There is just one problem....Cole didn't realize that he had any competition for that job. He simply assumed that it was his for the taking. Cole was still amazingly nice to Penelope even though they both wanted the same thing.
The pair are forced to interact with each other in a professional manner but they soon realize that they can't ignore their chemistry. The make a deal with each other and decide to keep it professional Monday through Friday but on the weekends things move to a whole different level. I liked the chemistry between this pair a lot and thought it really worked well in the story. I wanted these two to be together and was glad to pull up a chair and watch it happen.
This was a wonderfully written story. It was a bit predictable but it was so well done that it didn't matter to me. I was glad to see this couple get their happy ending. I think that the biggest strength of this book was the characters. They felt real to me and were well developed. I just loved their banter and how they interacted. I thought the pacing of the story was well done and I really had a hard time putting this one down.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. I have read several of Lauren Layne's novels and have found her work to be consistently good. I plan to continue to read her new work and make my way through her other books in the very near future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she's naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren's lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan, and currently lives in the Seattle-area. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She's also a total website nerd and insists you check out laurenlayne.com!